In Botswana culture, emphasis is placed on the traditional wedding, although many couples do both traditional and civil weddings. Marriage in this culture is a process, attaining its full definition after going through several steps over the years. Below is a list of Botswana wedding traditions that lead up to marriage.
Botswana Wedding Traditions
.A wedding can only take place after the local chief (Kgosi) gives his approval. In some instances, the Kgosi performs the wedding ceremony if he has a license from the government. Also, anyone who has objections to a planned wedding can pass the information to the Kgosi.
Bride Wealth – Bogadi
After lengthy negotiations between both families, the agreed bride price is paid. The standard ‘fee’ is eight head of cattle. If the couple has a child out of wedlock, the price goes up to nine cows. Sometimes the bride’s family asks for blankets, suits or money in place of cows. Full payment of the Bogadi takes several years, and may be completed years after the couple has had cohabited for long, had children, or even after the death of the wife.
The couple must announce their wedding 21 days before the event. Both the bride’s parents and groom’s parents must, however, consent to the marriage otherwise it cannot take place. If the parents are not present, any other family can stand in their place. Note that the groom must build a house for the newlyweds before the wedding day.
Botswana wedding traditions require that Seswaa and Ginger Beer are served at every wedding celebration. Seswaa is a traditional meat dish unique to Botswana, made of beef or goat meat. Tough or left over cuts of meat such as the legs, neck, and back are used to prepare this tasty dish.
Go Batla Mosadi
Go Batla Mosadi is the lengthy process of negotiation between the two families that leads to the wedding. A delegation is sent to the girl’s home to ask for her hand in marriage. The young man’s family does its best to gain favor with the girl’s family by buying them gifts and showing courtesy, humility, and patience during negotiations. After both sets of parents agree, discussions on the bride price begin.