National Geographic : 1999 Nov
Ndebele hile documenting the art of Ndebele housepainting, we learned of a wed ding to take place in a family homestead north of Pretoria, South Africa, where the Ndzundza Ndebele raise cattle and grow corn and millet. Ndebele weddings are celebrated in three stages, which can take years to conclude. They begin with the negotiation of lobola, or bride price, paid in installments of money and livestock. A two-week seclusion of the bride-to-be marks the second stage, when other women teach her how to be a good Ndebele wife. Coming out of seclusion, Zanelle shows off the heavily beaded attire she wore for her initiation into womanhood a year or so before (opposite). Colorful beaded hoops called golwani encircle her waist and legs, imitating the voluptuous female form so admired by the Ndebele. Later, in a show of shyness expected of Ndebele women, she stands with downcast eyes, wrapped in her marriage blanket (left), which she will wear at special events for the rest of her life. At the thresh old of the freshly painted gateway of a relative's court yard (below), Zanelle shields herself with an umbrella, a Western accessory adopted by Ndebele women for modesty. Zanelle is truly married only when she completes the third stage: giving birth to her first child. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, NOVEMBER 1999 I- ...................................