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Kuposa – Engagement in Digo Swahili community

The inquiry includes “family life” starts from great great grand parents to the girl’s parents. The groom parents and family elders will meet once again to disclose their search findings and discuss, the discussion ranges from the origin of the bridegrooms family, where they came from? The great great grandparents, clan and the family life style. The family will then settle on the girl who suits their qualifications. Two members of the family will then be chosen to visit the girl’s parents to ask for her hand in marriage to their son.

Before going the elders will sent a word to their in-laws on the date of visit.

On arrival the elders will be invited in by the hosts, they will exchange greetings, and immediately announce their intention for the visit, (usually they will say they have come to ask for jiko) “JIKO” the word used to refer to the girl.

Before serious talk or negotiation takes place the girl’s family will ask for the following:

  • Kifungwa mdomo
  • Kutandika Jamvi – (spreading of the mat)
  • Kahawa

The above demands by the girls family is given in a form of money by the groom’s family. From here the groom’s family will be welcomed again for proper negotiation and bargaining on the:

  • Mahari (the girl dowry) usually given in a form of cash money, (fedha) Furniture, Msahafu, (Quraan)  and mswala
  • Maziwa ya mama (mothers milk) the milk is given in money form of money and is divided between the girl’s mother, and her sisters and brothers
  • Kilemba ya baba (also is in money form) and the cash is divided among girls father his brother’s and sisters.

After the negotiation the grooms family “women” will then visit the bridegrooms family to give them “Kitamba cha utumba” as Kifunga Mlango “closes the door” the girl belongs to them now. The kitamba cha utumba bag contains

  • Gora mbili za Lesso (two pairs of Kanga cloth)
  • Viatu vya kuogea champali (a pair of slippers for shower)
  • Mswaki na dawa ya meno (tooth brush and tooth paste)
  • Mafuta ya Nazi, sabuni ya kogea na ya kufulia (coconut oil, bath soap and washing soap).

The family members will then report back to the family on the requirements, wedding date will be set by the groom’s family. The girl’s family will be informed on the date to start preparing for the ceremony. Meanwhile, the groom family will also be making arrangements for the bride grooms dowry, the furniture includes bed, dressing table, wardrobe, and sofa sets. The furniture will be ready before the wedding day and set in grooms room or house ready for the bridegroom. A day or two before the wedding the groom’s family will then visit the bridegroom’s family to take the wedding Bagi “Bag”

The bridegroom’s bag depends with the groom’s family they can be more than the reqirements depending on their financial status, but a must in the bag are the following:

  • Lesso gora mbili (two pairs of kanga cloth)
  • Mafuta nazi (Cocont oil)
  • Mafuta mazuri (perfume)
  • Viyatu vya kogea mbili (two pairs of slippers)
  • Mswaki mbili na dawa ya meno (two pairs of toothbrush and tooth paste)
  • Vitamba vya kanzu ama nguo (material for the bridegroom or ready made cloths)
  • Sidiria na suruali (bra, panties and pad)
  • Chanuo, udi, Hinna, Chitezo, na handkerchief (comb, udi, henna incense burner and a handkerchief)

The bridegroom will remain indoors while waiting for the wedding preparation to be completed and the wedding date to be sent from the groom’s family. Meanwhile the bridegroom to be will undergo some lessons and training from the grandmother on how to maintain her households, taking care of her husband, cooking lessons, bedroom lessons, respect to the husband and her in laws, dressing mode generally and in the bedroom, (twahara). (The important and use of kanga “Leso in Swahili communities)

Mapambo ya mwanamke na manukato is also important and the bride to be should get all the lessons on mapambo na manukato ya mwanamke because she should beautify herself for the husband every day (nikama adda kujirembesha kwa ajili ya mume nani lazima)

Wedding Day:

Nikka and wedding ceremony is celebrated at the bridegrooms home (main ceremony) not unless the grooms also wants to celebrate then they will also invite their guest. Otherwise during the Nikka day, the groom’s family will go to the bridegroom’s with “kahawa and Halwa” for the Nikka ceremony.


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