An elder stands up at the wedding reception and has these words of advice for the bride, the groom as well as their friends and relatives.
AMALUMBO (Praise) by Madalas Band
Traditional Zambian weddings are occasions when two families come together with friends and neighbours to celebrate the union of two people and their families. It is also a celebration of two people starting out together on a partnership through the journey of life.
As for any journey, provisions are made to ensure the journey is pleasurable and successful.
The programme for the day is divided into public events and private events. The public events are attended by everybody. Speeches are delivered by the family and friends at the reception. Those who wish to say words of encouragement or advice come forward, one at a time, and say their piece.
AMALUMBO (Praises) is a song reflecting some of the sentiments usually expressed by the elders.
It is a song exhorting friends and family to remember that marriage brings together people from different places, backgrounds and with different gifts and abilities.
The listener is reminded that positive encouragement is what helps to build families. An emphasis on differences and gossip only serves to destroy families. They are to be guarded against. Friends and family should use their privileged positions to help build this relationship, as opposed to tearing it down.
Marriage involves two people. They are a part of the community and community involvement with them does not end with the celebrations, but is ongoing.
A word of advice is extended to the married couple. It reminds them about their mission statement. To be realistic in acknowledging their differences and setting their sights on a marriage that nourishes the couple.
When difficulties arise, to avoid resorting to charms and ineffective solutions, but rather to trust in Godly wisdom and draw their strength from God. The goal is a balanced marriage, no matter how long it takes. Trials are there to be overcome. Do not be sucked into earthly distractions and shallow pleasures.
The community celebrates one of their own. They have witnessed the growth of this person from childhood through the teenage years. Now they see them standing on the threshold of married life, ready to take on more responsibility towards each other. Ready to usher new life into the community as parents. Ready to contribute to one of the great pillars that defines and supports human society: family life.
A big party ensues with food and drink.
Although not publicized, a very important component of the day is a private session when the elders are divides into two teams.
A team of wise men is allocated to the groom, and a team of wise ladies is allocated to the bride. The latter will also involve “bana Cimbusa.” This is the lady who has already established a special advisory relationship with the bride from the time she became of age. There are other people who are identified by consensus to meet the criteria of having already earned the confidence of the bride and groom through previous interactions, and who have demonstrated their wisdom in the community.
The task of these groups is to give a crash course on what makes for a successful marriage. It involves general advise as well as very specific sex education instruction.
From the group, specific people are chosen to continue that advisory role throughout this marriage. When the couple have questions or difficulties they are encouraged to approach these mentors for advise.
This supporting structure is often a great help to the young couple who have not only now joined a new club of wedded couples, but who now also have ready access to people they have already started a dialogue with regarding topics that they may find difficult to broach with casual friends or total strangers.
The mentors can be called upon any time the couple needs advice. This can be about how to look after a new born baby or about man-woman relationships.
Those who opt for a purely western type of marriage ceremony may not have a chance to experience this side of traditional weddings.
Some will have the benefit of combining the best of long-established traditions grounded in the experience of the elders, and the glamorous trappings of a western style image that may not necessarily have an underlying supportive structure.
The good news is that some of us are really fortunate to have so much experience and tradition to draw on. When balanced with the best from foreign cultures, it affords us the greatest benefit.
A wedding is a graduation from the University Of Life.
The bride and groom deserve praise for what they have achieved so far, and positive encouragement as they start their life journey together.
While they may be graduates from esteemed universities, there is a whole body of knowledge guarded by the elders, that they can draw upon to build a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
So here is a song about that:
AMALUMBO by Madalas Band
An elder stands up at the wedding reception and has some words of advice for the bride, the groom as well as their friends and relatives.
Click PLAY to listen to this song.
Click HERE for Lyrics In Bemba and English.
Recorded at Sheezaw Studios, Wusakile, Kitwe: August 2000.