Botswana avaSome wedding traditions in Botswana are rather rational and logical – the Western world could adopt a few of them as well. For example, Tswana boys and girls that approach adulthood are sent to a special school to study societal responsibility and family duties. What other Tswana wedding customs can be incorporated into our marriage ceremonies?

 

Unmarried people of age lose respect

In Botswana, both men and women are expected to be married by a certain age. If they’re not, they can be shunned and banned from attending some events. Unmarried adult men even avoid speaking in public gatherings because they’re afraid of disrespect and humiliation. So, most Tswana people try to get married and create a family, even if they haven’t found the right person yet.


Arranged marriages

Tswana elders often arrange a marriage for their children or grandchildren. And not always they’re listening to what these young boys and girls say. The elders are looking for a young man or woman from a good family with no history of drunkenness and witchcraft. And potential brides and grooms often agree to such a marriage without too much complaining because of the previous wedding custom – they’re afraid to be shunned if they don’t find a spouse in time.


Bogwera and bojale lessons

When Tswana teenagers get older and reach adulthood, they’re taught how to be a responsible person in society, how to perform the duties of a married person, etc. The young men and women are sent to separate initiation schools – “bojale” for girls and “bogwera” for boys. Actually, this is a nice idea – to teach teenagers how to be smart, responsible, and skilled in household chores.


Patlo ceremony

This ritual is a Tswana variant of an engagement ceremony. When the boy (or his parents) chooses the right girl for marriage, they send a delegation for negotiation. By the way, only married relatives of the potential groom can take part in this ritual. They come to the girl’s family and ask for her hand in marriage. The dowry is also discussed at this meeting.


Go batla mosadi wedding ritual

The groom’s family prepares a number of gifts for the bride’s family. They show their respect, show off their own wealth, and pay the bogadi – dowry for the bride – agreed beforehand. This dowry is usually paid in cattle, and the amount depends on the bride’s beauty, education, and reputation.


Civil and church wedding instead of traditional

These days, most Tswana couples prefer to have a civil and/or a church wedding instead of a traditional Tswana wedding. Many wedding traditions are skipped and the brides and grooms go for a classic Western-style marriage ceremony. But some couples still perform the traditional wedding rituals and customs.

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