It’s very much known that culture is not static and it’s bound to change with different social factors. But there are some things that will not change even if we tend to assimilate new trends.
This week someone an acquaintance of mine made a statement that I believe made our forefathers turn in their graves. He said that ‘Gusaba’, the Rwandan traditional marriage ceremony should be scrapped and people should only do the civil and religious weddings. At first, I thought this person was trying to tackle the bride price issue because it has been a controversial one since some people compare it to buying a bride like she is property. He justified his argument that the customary marriage is just for formalities and that it’s of no value to society since it’s outdated.
Let us not justify cultures that we copy from the Western world and hold them dearer to us than those of our motherland.
In Rwanda, wedding ceremonies are cheerful times since relationships between two families are strengthened, cemented as they celebrate the beginning of a new generation that is about to come into existence when the bride and groom have children.
What we consider invaluable, some foreigners find intriguing. It’s funny how visitors appreciate our cultural values, dances and ceremonies yet they barely understand the language. I have had several testimonies of foreigners praising the Rwandan culture and its uniqueness, especially the ‘Gusaba’ ceremony because it incorporates many of our traditions.
The traditional marriage ceremony currently precedes the civil and religious wedding because it officially represents the process of bringing the bride’s and the groom’s families together.
During ‘Gusaba,’ the groom’s family is put to test on whether they will honour and treat the bride with utmost care and respect. Culturally, it’s respectful if a girl or woman is officially taken from her father and mother‘s home to go and start her own family.
There is also an attempt to maintain the fact that the couple is not related in anyway during ‘Gusaba’. It’s a tradition that is done to discourage vices such as incest. In other words, people would end up marrying their brothers or sister given the history of our country. Because of insurgencies that befell our country people were scattered across the world hence at this moment, the Gusaba ceremony cannot be compromised.
To sum it all, Gusaba is still practiced to ensure that cultures are passed on to the next generation regardless of the several changes happening in society. For this reason, the tradition should be respected practiced.