John Hamithi is now married. He is our third lecturer at the St. Augustine Theological School, a former Catholic priest. I and several others from the School travel up to his home in Mogoditshane for the day’s events.
The marriage ceremony actually began yesterday. Then John went to his bride’s home in Ramotswa, where he paid lobola (his uncle had negotiated 8-10 head of cattle, or the cash equivalent), and the couple went to the district commissioner’s for the ‘signing.’ Not only did the D.C. do the things necessary to make the civil marriage legal; she also ‘counseled’ them.
Today the bride and her family come to John’s home. They stop at a neighbor’s place, and from there process down the road, singing. There must be 20 or 30 of them. I notice all the women have identical thick blue blankets pinned around their shoulders.
It’s in the nineties.
John’s family and friends, meanwhile, process down the road toward them, singing an alternative song. Eventually we all meet, turn, and return to the home.
But now there is an obstacle. The elders of John’s family have closed the gate. They declare that when she enters the gate, she become part of their family, and to show they have the resources to care for her, they push some money to her family under the gate. Apparently satisfied, we are all allowed to enter, and we sit down for a meal.
They bring a single plate with a sampling of food out and place it before me. I am to bless it. Fortunately, I realize this, and do not think, ‘how nice,’ and start to eat.
I wish them well.