A wedding will be celebrated for about 3 days and is a big affair attended by all family and relations with food drink and dancing.
Girls are eligible for marriage from the age of 14 or 15. Lobola , the bride price, is practiced as a token of appreciation to the parents of the girl. This places a great financial burden upon the husband who often has to “pay off” the lobola over many years.
Prior to the marriage the bride will spend a week with all the women of the family (mother, mother-in-law, aunts) to learn the ways of satisfying their husband in bed, the kitchen and more to ensure a happy husband and marriage.
Funerals are also big occasions in the villages and also continue for about 3 days. Grief is shown through wailing, singing, dancing and the beating of drums. During the mourning period (called the funeral) the men sit outside and the women inside the house of the deceased. Family and friends arrive to show respect and condolences, and those that can, will contribute food or money to cover the costs over this time. Certain ceremonies need to be performed to make sure the spirit of the deceased is happy and at rest. After the burial the people will leave to go back to their families. If the husband who has died has a brother, he will often claim the widow and children as a “second” family. Polygamy is still practiced although it is usually only the chiefs and headmen who are wealthy enough to support more than one family. Commitment to a marriage partner is not really considered a priority and AIDS claim the lives of many every month.