Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Giving Away

On Saturday I got dressed up in my new kanzu (long white traditional robe - see right with my direct boss at Action Aid) to attend a function on the outskirts of Kampala.

The main tribe in the central area of Uganda are the Baganda and one of their most traditional ceremonies is in the run-up to marriage, when the prospective groom has to travel with all his clan members to the family house of his bride. There then ensues an elaborate court room like process (the two families are sat opposite each other in a British parliamentary type setting) in which the groom has to convince everybody that he will be a good husband. He appoints a MC to operate on his behalf in the style of a defence barrister - 'my client has an excellent educational history and does not drink locally produced hooch' etc etc.

To sweeten the deal the clan members then go back to their cars and bring out presents for the other family (see the carpeting of gifts between the two clans on the left). This is in lieu of 'bride price' which while the norm in other parts of Uganda does not operate to the same extent amongst the Baganda. However, given the range and quantity of the presents (3 piece suite, goat, crates of soda, chickens, baskets of fresh fruit and veg) I think 'bride price' may well have been cheaper...

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