African Marriages Should Embrace Cultural Authenticity Over Western Influences - Chima Obieze

Rt. Hon. Chima Obieze Advocates for Cultural Integrity in African Marriages

Rt. Hon. Chima Obieze, a Nigerian politician currently representing the good people of Ezeagu in the Enugu State House of Assembly, has voiced strong sentiments regarding the preservation of African cultural traditions in marriage ceremonies. He recently highlighted a poignant example to underscore his views on the sanctity of traditional rituals:

“And you came to marry my daughter, I gave her palm wine to find her husband and give him the drink. She carried it with one hand, covered it with the other hand, danced round and found you. Then when she handed you the drink you poured it away and put money inside the cup and brought it back to me. If I no use cutlass pursue you out from my compound, know say I no be Dike.”

Igbo Palm Wine

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In Igbo tradition, the act of presenting palm wine to a groom by his father-in-law during traditional marriage rites is symbolic and significant. The groom is expected to drink the wine as a sign of acceptance into the bride’s family and to seal the marriage covenant. Pouring the wine away, as described by Obieze, is a direct violation of this cultural practice and is viewed as disrespectful and unacceptable.

Obieze further articulates his perspective on the integration of Western-style white weddings into African marital practices:

“I hold an honest view that after the father of a bride voluntarily and happily gives his daughter to a man and accepts the bride price offered by the groom. The marriage immediately becomes settled and sealed both on earth and in heaven. Hence the white wedding is merely a ceremony to seek God’s blessings.”

He criticizes the prevailing practice where churches pressure couples to undergo a Western-style white wedding ceremony following traditional marriage rites. Obieze advocates for churches to bless marriages during the traditional ceremony itself, aligning with African cultural norms and practices.

“The church must stop pressuring us to conduct the Western (white) wedding even after our own African wedding (traditional marriage). The church must devise a rule to bless marriages during the traditional marriage ceremony and not after. That is enculturation. Africa must stop conducting marriage ceremonies twice on the same bride in the name of traditional marriage and white wedding.”

Obieze’s viewpoints reflect a broader movement among African leaders and cultural advocates to maintain the authenticity and integrity of their cultural heritage in the face of Western influences in marital traditions.

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