Marriage or Wanano is the union of two people and to become husband and wife. In the pre-colonial era, Zimbabweans had many forms of marriage which were recognised. Some of these forms include Kutizisa, kuganha, kubvisa pfuma /roora among others. However, with colonisation, some of the foreign methods of marriage where introduced for example wedding ceremonials, prenuptial to mention a few.


Background

Zimbabwe has many ethnic groups with a lot of values and diverse culture. The goal of marriage remains the same, to unite two people together and their families too.


Forms of marriage

Here are some of the forms of marriage traditionally recognised in Zimbabwe

This method is when a girl identifies a man she desires to be married to and packs her belongings to move in with him. This she did without communicating with him nor anyone from her family. After arrival to the man's home, she would sit outside the home and wait for anyone to notice her. The family of the man she whom she would have liked will then sit their son down and ask if he liked the girl in return. If his answer was yes then arrangements to pay lobola would be in place.

This method is almost similar to kuganha except for this time around it is the man that identifies the girl he likes. He studies her movement patterns and whilst she is unaware usually when she would be collecting firewood or fetching water. The man will pick her up and run as fast as he can before the family of the girl notices her absence and searches for her or sent her brothers to beat the man up. Upon arrival to his home, the man will send word to the girls family that she was with him and he would like to marry her. The girl will be encouraged to accept him and roora proceedings will begin.

A typical poor family will negotiate with a rich family to give a girl child. This was before the child was even born. After her birth, she would stay with her family until she was mature to go and live with her promised husband. In other scenarios, the family of the girl would marry her off to cover problems for example to pay ngozi (an avenging spirit of someone murdered by the girls family member\ external family member). If a chief would have ruled out that case and the girls family could not afford the number of cattle needed he will trade his girl child.

This marriage is when the man could not afford to pay lobola in the acceptable ways which could be cattle or hoes. So instead he would offer his labour services for an agreed time frame to work at his would be inlaws house mostly in the fields. At the end of the time phase mentioned the man will claim his bride and together start their own family.


This form of getting married is still common in modern-day Zimbabwe and usually is when a girl gets pregnant before roora is paid to her family. The man decides to collect the girl by night at an agreed place. The girl is accompanied by a friend and no ceremony is held to celebrate this form of marriage.

After a female relative has passed on, her young sister is given to her husband to help him look after the deceased family and also as a token of appreciation for living well with the deceased. The chimutsamapfihwa's other role is to ensure that she continues her sisters' roles and responsibility in the family.

Kugara Nhaka is almost similar to chimutsamapfihwa except in this instance the husband takes over his late brother or uncle. The idea behind this type of marriage was to ensure the

This form of marriage is when a man ask for a girls hand in marriage and gives her family a token of appreciation in the form of roora. The man goes to her aunt and promises to marry at a certain date. The aunt then ask the girl and man to solidfy their promise in exchange of clothing, for example, the man may take the girl's blouse and the girl takes his trousers. This exchange is kupana nhumbi and soon after they are traditionally engaged. If either of them is to break the promise he/she will be taken to the village headman or the chief. [1]



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References

  1. Traditional forms of marriage…. when Western values eroded our ways, ThePatriot, Published: 20 July 2017 , Retrieved: 19 March 2018