By Martin Mwango
Zambian anthropology defines marriage as a union between a man and woman. Marriage is the first gift that God gave to human beings, the creator blessed it and gave us the power to be pro creators on earth. Hence, Marriage has accompanied the human story from the very Genesis. Each culture defines marriage life differently.
In the Zambian culture we have some marriage values that we cannot do without. There are values and beliefs that have been there for generations and these are rituals that prepare one for a good and long lasting marriage. Here are some of the traditions of our lovely Zambian culture, though I’m not here to discuss them more profoundly but just to give a brief hint of them. The process that leads to marriage consists of the following steps
1) Insalamu when two young people fall in love, the man takes the first step and takes the Insalamu (token) which shows the commitment he has towards a woman he intends to marry. The two families then accept and acknowledge the intention of their children.
2)Nkobekela is the period that goes from the time that the insalamu is accepted by the woman’s side up to marriage or wedding day. During this time the two partners get to know each other and their families better.
3) Amatebeto The woman’s family responds to the man’s side with amatebeto. It’s a ritual practice for social and union between the two families.The womans family prepares a feast for the mans family.
Before the wedding day, the elders organizes themselves to teach both the man and a woman traditional values on how to abide in their new marriage life.
In Zambia today we are slowly losing these traditions and in the end we shall forfeit our identity just because of the so called world globalization. Our marriages should not be influenced by any other cultures.Besides Westerners have their own way of interpreting marriage life.
Nowadays, there are lot of divorces in Zambia which was something very rare many years ago. Are we easily disregarding the traditional values we are taught in exchange for the frivolous western values. Do our women deserve divorce? Perhaps its the women who nowadays want to wear the pants in the home.When we stand up for gender and change of some cultural practices we have to be careful.For example, when people stood up in Zambia to fight for liberty of dressing, what has come out of this liberty? We have lost our dressing code and our identity. Zambian men and women, we need to go back to our roots and pick up our identity and have respect in our marriages.
Let’s not just rush to make a change without putting into consideration the effects it will give us tomorrow.
Touch not marriage, otherwise our families will soon become like that of westerners where marriage has become like a contract. God created man and a woman and he consecrated them for marriage life and our culture as taught us how to interpret marriage life.