Culture is something that gives us an identity. It shapes us to be the people that we are. Although, some African cultures have many similarities there are other elements that separate one culture from another. Hence, why I love it when two different individuals from two different cultures come together in holy matrimony. You can be sure the wedding will always be eclectic, vibrant, colourful and most of all lots of FUN.
Sanelisiwe describes the style of their Nigerian-Zulu Wedding as Zulu meets Nija. Which, I think is spot on. Both guests from each side of the family were amazed by customs and practises of their cultures. And it’s beautiful to watch.
This Nigerian-Zulu Wedding is one of my favourites and has left me with so much sadness that I could not be there to enjoy and bask in all the festivities of the celebration. Oh well, at least we have the photos to look at hey!
The Love Story
It wasn’t your typically “night and armour” love story. We met when I was going through the darkest time of my life. I had just been engaged few month prior to meeting him and the man I was supposed to get married to fled, so you can imagine the state I was in. April 2015, I went with one of my church friends to her husband’s office (it was her fiancé at the time) and when we walked in this guy was by the entrance just sitting there. This guy was one of my friend’s fiancé’s friends and he too was visiting. Anyway, we walked in; I greeted everyone and carried on with the business that had brought me there. This guy in the background was busy asking my friend “who is this girl?” “Where have you been hiding her?” and so on…. I just pretended I was not in the room at all.
Then out nowhere he asked me the most stupid question he could have asked at that time “Will you marry me?” WHAT??? I couldn’t have left that place soon enough. He didn’t even know me, who did he think I was? Then he still had the audacity to ask for my number which I refused to give. Fortunately or unfortunately my friend’s wedding was around the corner and as fate may have it we were both in their bridal team, he was a groomsman and I was a bridesmaid and of course, we were paired together, whether that was deliberate or not I’ll never know… but soon after we became close friends and then after several attempts in December that year he asked me again and I agreed.
Because of the hurt and disappointment, I had been through it wasn’t easy for me to accept his proposal. I think he asked me on four occasions before I actually gave in lol… I still look back and thank God for giving this man so much patience and him for his guidance into making my decision to let go of the past and trust him with my future. We both attend the same church so from there we had to follow church protocols which entailed him meeting with my pastor for my hand in marriage then from there we started our marriage counselling classes which are coordinated by the church.
The Planning Process
I’m originally from Durban (Zulu) and he is from Nigeria (Nigerian- Igbo) but we were both living in Cape Town and our traditional wedding was to be held in my home, Durban- Umhlanga. So being from two separate cultures with two separate backgrounds then staying in a city different from where we were hosting our traditional engagement the planning process became really tricky. For most of our arrangement, we had to trust family and friends to get this done as we were not around. On the other hand, not only was I planning my wedding but I had about 50 guests that were flying in from CPT to DBN in support of us so I also had to plan flight, accommodation, shuttles etc for them too.
The Creative’ Selection
I was very blessed to come from a creative family where most of us are in either in deco, catering, fashion or entertainment industries… so all my vendors were right at my doorstep. My wedding planner and deco was done by my cousin Silungile Mbanjwa who owns @sm_events_decor_specialists. My catering was done by my aunt Nco Mbanjwa. And then my brother Dj Sox handled all the sound and lighting for me.
One Thing I’d Change
Lol … everyone is still going on about how amazing the food was but I have no idea what it tasted like… I didn’t eat at all, not even a slice of bread and if I could change anything, I would change not eating the delicious food at my wedding.
Culture played a very big part in our Membeso ceremony and although my husband is Nigerian, it was still very important for him to also experience my culture and equally I also didn’t want to make it all about me but also wanted to explore his culture so we decided to fuse the two traditions together. The first half of the day was all Zulu where the Membeso took place and then the second half of the day which was all Nija styled was our engagement ceremony. The deco was mainly Zulu but with a touch of Nija.
Most Memorable Moment
Ahh, I will never forget, during uMembeso the called out my mom to give her blankets, gifts etc… as per Zulu tradition. So she came out with a slight smile on her face and while all of this happening she just quietly sat still. I was sitting on the floor on Ucansi (straw mat) and when I looked up my eyes locked with her eyes and she smiled again looking at me as if she is saying “this is it, my child, you leaving me”… immediately I couldn’t hold back the tears and I cried in silence. I was the first girl to get married in my family and the excitement and the support that all my family members had towards us is defiantly a memory I will never forget.
I had four outfit changes but unfortunately due to time I ended up only changing three time. My first outfit was my Zulu attire, then I change to my second outfit which was designed by me and made by my friend Marshall was a Nigerian attire and lastly, my last outfit which was also a Nigerian attire was also designed by me and made by my friend Marshall. It’s so funny because my mum hated all my outfits and the night before the wedding she was trying to convince me not to change at all the miraculously on the day she kept praising me on how beautiful I was and my dresses were astonishing lol
When we started our wedding plans we said to each other ‘God is our wedding planner’ and everyone else is just a vessel of Gods works…. What I’m saying here is that God was our biggest and best investment!! We started our wedding plans with just R100.00 between the both of us but if I could tell you how we did everything we did I would really be lying. We were not short of anything and we had everything we planned and wished for…God did it all!!
PRAY, RELAX and ENJOY every single moment, God has your back!! Your wedding day only comes once then it’s gone and all you have to look back on is pictures. Trust God, He can never shame you, he can never leave you nor forsake you.
If you’ve loved this Nigerian-Zulu Wedding, you’ll adore this one
The Creative’ Contacts
Photographer: uThasho Photography, @uthashophotography – 0835072995
Venue: My house
Dress: Marshal Enyioma – 0839969405
Make-Up: Bride by Teenails & Beauty, @thandeka_luvuno – 0713260767
Suits: Ugochukwu – 0733491112
Décor/Venue Styling: Silungile Mbanjwa, @sm_events_decor_specialists 078 280 3124