adam nkuba

Right Of Reply - The Other Side
by Nkuba Adams

IN HIS thesis ‘’Erosion of black Tradition’’ my brother Mashilo Masemola lamented the contemporary syndrome of copycatting  Eurocentric  tendencies substituting sacred African tradition practices in African societies, Masemola crisply asserted that culture does evolve but tradition must be preserved. Masemola refused to aim his arsenal at cultural imperialism by the other but focused on “black people themselves ‘’.
At the core of this wholesale dereliction of traditional ceremonies and customs is the negotiation and celebration of marriage.Traditional rituals carries within them underlying values which guard against moral turpitude and casual insensitivities inherent in the imperfect nature of human beings. I shall now comparatively expose the pitfalls of “white wedding“(read modern matrimonial order) and its flawed values system as against the traditional ideology of marriage.
According traditional articles of life, marriage is a process of growth which involve two family groups as opposed to two individuals, this process calls for the performance of customs rituals which are absolute requirements of this process .The delivery not payment of lobola defined by the south African parliament as :“lobola” means the property in cash or in kind, whether known as lobolo, Bogadi, bohali. Xuma, lumalo, thaka. Ikhazi, magadi, emabheka or by any other name, which a prospective husband or the head of his family undertakes to give to the head of the prospective wife’s family in consideration of a customary marriage; is of great importance  other salient features include the procreation of children.
Fast forward to contemporary beliefs marriage is legal transaction aimed at creating an independent legal unit of husband and wife since the bearing of children is optional a counter principle to the Tswana proverb “tseo ke go tsala bana” (to marry is to bear kids).The main aim of a marriage in terms of indigenous customs is perpetuation of the clan, together with related families. The modern framework as advocated by shrinks Dr Eve, Shirley Glass, Esther Perel to mention just a few is organized around the idea of the centrality of love, whatever the love is intended to mean.
The contradictions within the contemporary matrimonial value system are revealed by its subscription to American individualism which supports the careless gratification of selfish pursuits versus the selflessness of a loving heart.
Women rights and traditional activism
A common salvo of critics is that tradition is the custodian of the patriarchal agenda of male supremacy and gender oppression as an adherent of traditional systems, my response is obvious: we view life as a process and men and women are of equal human worth and are partner in progress, we further refuse to define life as a power game of sexes  in which each is  trying to score more rights from the Law.
Divorce and dissolution of marriage
The modern /white wedding vow recitation does not acknowledge divorce as possible fate of a marriage but reality speaks otherwise. The sacred purpose served by the traditional marriage is immune to death itself, yes there I said it .Traditional marriage is not dissolved upon death of  either of the parties. Divorce as a concept that seeks to define a life experience is foreign to Africantraditional value concepts definitions
In support of Mashilo Masemola as he waves the STOP sign at this prevalent commercialization of rituals like the delivery of marriage goods /lobola. It is my opinion that our economic and commercial activism cannot and must not follow the conventional model of rugged capitalism at the expense of traditions giving value to life, lest we lose this values and exist on natural instinct like animals .ours must be a parallel capitalism which refuse to maintain wealth at all cost, to a point of creating poverty and exploitation.

Thanks to MASHILO MASEMOLA for the inspiration.

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