As we are busy lamenting at the ever increasing marriages or is it wedding function; many people worldwide are engaging in this ever expanding institution. Some philosophers say that, much as many are trying to look for the slightest excuses of exiting, twice or foursome is struggling to get in. It is like a scenario on a SOC (scene of crime), so many onlookers wondering as to how the inside is like, very few caught up in the heat of it all! Do not say that I am contradicting myself, when has life not been a contradiction? Birth and death, marriage and D.., sleep and wake, etc. The more society evolves, the more potential for everything arises! In other words, love it, hate, you cannot run away from it!
A friend of mine found us lamenting on the ever increasing costs of carrying out the marriage function and this is what she told us. If you think that you pay so much, then that word may lose meaning! She was in the States and was conscripted to help “buy” a girl from the other side of Baltimore and found herself singing Gikuyu traditional songs in the middle of a housing estate filled with baffled “bazungu”. They had ciondo filled with all kinds of gifts and her parents still locked the entourage “outside” (in spite of the summer heat) pretending to have lost the door key. The “selling” group kept popping through their “locked” door demanding louder songs and even louder cash. And visiting side had no choice but to raise the decibels in this normally quiet and civilised neighbourhood. Several women produced the demanded cash from their “central” banks (their bras) and as the amount was about to be arrived at, the “sellers” would immediately hiked the price of unlocking the front door. This reminds me of th
e Baganda where there are all sorts of fines, you dress off the code, there is a fine, you cough loudly, a fine, anyone from visitors side doing this or that without permission and an instant fine!
It was all very funny or fun because, many had never experienced such drama for decades! They were all laughing helplessly at this fascinating show, many last witnessed from their aunts (on Mount Kenya) twenty or so years ago and now here they were, a generation away trying to play loud-mouthed aunts from both sides. Finally, the “lockers” opened the door and served them good food and cold drinks and then promptly asked them to leave their premises and go home in peace. This is another signal in the Kikuyu traditional wedding script when the oldest uncle is supposed to pop-up urgently and declares the real reason for their visit, in this case, it is “buying their girl”.
Okay (replied a tough aunt # 1) “we have twenty girls who will now come out one-by-one so that you can identify your girl”. All twenty girls paraded before the “boy” dressed head-to-toe in lesos (except for one opening around the eyes). The “boy” (born and brought up in America) broke out in a nervous sweat as the selling aunts explained the rules: “the dowry will go up twice if your hand touches the wrong girl so choose your leso-covered figure wisely”. It took him three parades of all twenty girls plus the whispered help of his uncles (prison veterans) to gain the courage to finally pull the “right “girl from those lesos.
My friend being a “ murokole” dropped out of the dowry negotiations when the veteran prisoners started firing loaded Gikuyu proverbs (worse than Runyankore or Rukiga vulgar proverbs) at one another. Pretty soon other bored aunts joined left murmuring: Hiiii Hiiiii, Hiiiiiiii, ciira ni wa arume (politics should be left exclusively to men). They decided to go and discuss more interesting topics like hairstyles and clothes plus who has gained the most weight (and wrinkles) since they left school.
Finally the “selling” price was beaten down to one hundred and fifty thousand US dollars CBD (cash-before-delivery) which they were later told was the average going price for a fresh Gikuyu girl even at home (Kenya). But my friend could not help from thinking that if these buyers had gone back home (instead), most probably, the fathers there would have opened the door “free” to the nearest bidder and then added the wrinkles and grey hair as “bakhsheesh” for good customer service. Surely, weddings are truly the icing on the cake of human life.