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  • Kupelekapete
  • KufugaUkuti
  • Hinna party
  • Shindee
  • Kesha
  • Limatularus – Lunch
  • Kikaii/Nikkah– Kupambakikaiimarriage vows performed by kadhi at the Mosque. the groom family serves KahawaThungu, and Halua or tende
  • Kutiasufi – Kutiasufinakudondoamchele
  • Kupamba
  • Kutoanjee bi harusi – is a request by the grooms family to Pamba the bride on the stage after the wedding day Nikkah
  • Kipepeo -Zawadiya mama bi harusi ; Kipepeohupambwanamanotinamayasminiapelekewa mama biharusikwajasho la harusiajipepeapumzike
  • Hidaya – zawadiya bi harusi
  • Kombe la mume – vyakulaupelekwakwafamiliayamume (sambusa/kaimati/mkate wasinia/mahamri/rojoya kuku amanyama (enough for the groom family). Mkate mayaiwatokakwamkewapelekwa design with notes and muasimini
  • Mwamvuli – notes design as a mwamvuli taken to bride family as a token.

In arranged marriage the groom family will send word to close relatives and friends to search a bride for their sons. The search includes religion background tribe, where they live, and brief history of the family. Once all the information is gathered the groom family will then send a word to the chosen family (KUCHUMBIA)

POSA “Propose”
The groom family will visit the bride family in a surprise in their first visit usually it is between 2pm – 4pm to propose.  On arrival the groom family will pronounce their intention of visit “TUMEKUJA NA JAMBO LA KHEIR KUTAKA JIKO” (jiko here mean a woman). In arranged marriage the groom families knows and have information on the bride to be. Here it depends if the bride to be families have more than one girl in the house or the family lives with extended family the bride to be family will want a description of the girl in detail.  The detail description includes; complexion, height, weight, etc.  Usually the description is done in detailed manner.

The bride mother will then based on the description given will call the girl and ask her to serve the visitors tea and snacks the move is aimed at identify the bride to be (a mother guess is always right) and approval from the groom family. The groom family leaves the bride family house promising to come back soon but not without leaving a groom photograph behind for the bride to be.

Despite the fact that in arranged marriage the bride parents decision is considered to be final but the bride to be mother will explain in details to her daughter about visit and intention of the visitors, she will also give her the photograph of the groom to be.

Maulidi ceremony is performed immediately by both parents.The slaughter of cow as a “SADAKA” to the villagers and a thank giving to ALLAW (SW). Dua and Fatihais performed.

Kupelekapete will be a second visit to the bride to be family. The bride family will be informed early in advance in order to inform their close relatives about the occasion.  On this particular day the purpose of visit is to discuss on the:

  • Girl dowry (MAHARI)
  • Maziwaya mama
  • Kilembaya baba
  • Bag (bagi)
  • Fixed marriage date

The groom family will bring the engagement ring together with other gift for the bride e.g. Kanga, cloths, hijab, buibui etc.

MAHARI OR DOWRY :this belongs to the bride to be and she is the one to decide on what she wants her Mahari to be. Mahari can be given in a form of:

  • Furniture:  this includes double bed, dressing table, wardrobe, sofa sets, and wall unit worth Ksh. 150,000/= to Ksh. 200,000/=
  • Cash money ranging from Ksh. 100,000/= to Ksh. 150,000/=
  • Set of gold worth Ksh. 100,000/= to Ksh. 150,000/=
  • The Holy Qur’aan and Mswala:

Mahari is bargainable and also depends on financial ability and stature in society.

  • Maziwaya mama it is between Ksh. 30,000/= and Ksh 50,000/= an appreciation to bride mother.
  • Kilembaya baba:it is between Ksh. 30,000/= and Ksh. 50,000/=  an appreciation to bride father.
  • Bag (Bagi) as they call it in Swahili the bagi can cost Ksh. 100,000/= to 150,000/= but the same Bagi can cost as little as only Ksh. 10,000/= this also depends on the family wealth.

Maziwaya mama is usually shared among the mama family (uncles and unties) same with kilembaya baba the cash is divide among the baba families (Shangazi and Ami)

  • Marriage date:the wedding date is fixed between 3 – 4 months to give both families time for wedding preparations
  • Kufungaukuti: during this period the bride will remain indoors this is what is referred as “KufungaUkuti”during this time the bride is not allowed to go out not unless it is very necessary and in any case she has to go out then she will be accompanied by an elderly person in the family and covered completely from head to toes, she should not be recognized by anybody.
  • Somo and kungwi:will be chosen among the family or alternatively profession on the field to guide the bride and give lessons on Elimu Asilia of the Swahili people to the bride to be during the kufungaukuti period.

During the four months indoors somo will help the bride to be with body beautification so that by the time she gets marriage she will be in a fair complexion and smooth this is made possible applying the following to the body; Liwa, Manjano, BintiDhahabu waxing and shaving is done also. Five days to the wedding the bride hair will be relaxed using the cream relaxer died to her color of choice, dried and styled by the beautician (somo) the day of the wedding.

KUNGWI:An old woman chosen to give guidance to the bride on the cleanness of the body, bedroom matters, and how to handle a husband during the wedding day and after the wedding day duties and responsibilities.

  • HINNA PARTY:The Hinna ceremony takes place 3 days before the wedding, the ceremony is attended by the bride friends and age mates as a farewell party to the bride the bride is applied hinna the occasion is marked by songs, and dance. Snacks and soft drinks are served to the visitors.
  • SHINDA: Shinda is the coming together of the close bride relatives to make the final preparation of the wedding day especially to make arrangement on food drinks,  to divide duties and responsibility for the big day. During Shinda lunch is made for the family gathering and soft drinks served. The occasion is meant to bring togetherness in the family and close relation. On the same day at night the family will celebrate KESHA with friends and neighbors. Snack (mahamrisviazivyarojo, kitoweo (meat or chicken) and juice will be served. The Kesha ceremony is marked by dance, songs, Ngoma “mama lele, Kirumbizi or buzi by the elderly women.
  • LIMATULARUS – LUNCH: the lunch ceremony takes place at the bride’s home relatives, friends, neighbors and family gather for lunch.Taarab dance and modern songs mark the occasion.
  • KUPAMBA:is mostly done in the evening from 7pm – 12pm at the hall this is strictly meant for married women to enter the hall one must have invitation card for the occasion.  The hall beautification and design is made by professionals. A parked box of snacks and soft drinks is serves to the guest as they enter. Taarab music played and dance for about 3hours to be precise and at 10.30 pm to 11.00pm the bride will arrive marched to the stage for photographs, immediately the bride groom enters the hall the invited guest leave and the bridegroom is left with her relatives and very close relatives to explore the stage and take family photographs. The exercise takes between an hour and two hours. The groom takes her bride home escorted by close relatives.

Ni la zima mke kuvaa leso mbili wakati wakulala na mumewe Mume ni avae leso kiunoni Kikaii na upambaji wa milazakishellasikuyanikkah tuna

songanyelemviringoamamkilinahukuzimetatiliwanamuyasmininausoni tuna wekamapambozayasmininamapamboyamkufuusoni.

Muyasmini, vilua, udi, manukato, mafutamazurinausafizaidiyamkekimwili, kinyumbanahatainjeyanyumbanimuhimu.

Mwanamkewa Kiswahili nipambonalazimatuendelezemilanadesturiyetukatikaelimuasiliatuliofundishwanawazeewetu. Na vituhivikuvitumiakwamwanamkewa Kiswahili nikamalazimakumfurahishamumewako

The groom and bride will go to bed while both relatives wait for the answer from the groom.  It the bride turns out to be a virgin the bed sheet is send to the bride family and a celebration for both the family.

“KUOLEWA NA KUOA SI RAHA NI KARAHA YATAKA USTAMILIVU” a saying  from Munira Yusuf to remind the couples on the wedding vows.
Manukatoyawaswahili – vilua, muasumini, roses.

By Munira Yusuf.
Facilitated by Fatma Mansoor.

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