I attended the Kwanjula of a close relative a few weeks ago and the social changes our lives are undergoing hits in the face like a brick. Gone was the close knit family gathering organised and planned to receive and host the in-laws to be on our ‘turf’. This was replaced by an organising committee that fundraised from family and friends, the budget would easily outdo any church wedding and the ‘program’ would have given my dearly departed grand parents an ulcer.
The cows were replaced with cold cash, the DJ took the place of traditional musicians in fake animal skins, there was a cake to be cut, the bride to be gave gifts to the groom to be……. Transgressions galore, the master of ceremony was thoroughly confused and could not tell what would happen next. And you could almost here the old timers clicking their tongues in disapproval.
But is it really a bad thing to give the Kwanjula a more modern twist. After all in most cultures in Uganda it is actually the customary wedding and with our appetite for flaunting what we have , why not elevate our traditional wedding ceremony to the levels that the church wedding has reached.
However, the cost implications are not lost on anyone, this now means family and friends now need to foot two sets of bills, and that is just for one couple in one year! Is there not a danger that when the exalted church wedding arrives it will fall flat from the expectations already raised by the kwanjula?
Culture is dynamic, time will tell where we will go next.