A traditional Swazi wedding, part three: Umtsimba

Umtsimba celebrations return to the groom’s family’s homestead for the final event of a Swazi traditional wedding (the first is the teka and the second is the lobola). This ceremony celebrates the completion of the lobola payment, which can occur even many years later.

The bride’s family will travel to the groom’s homestead with gifts purchased with money acquired after selling some of the lobola cows. The groom also returns the favor with gifts for the bride’s immediate family.

The bride’s family washes and prepares for the celebration and dancing at a nearby river. Eventually, they will be summoned to approach the homestead.

At the umtsimba I attended, we sang and danced our way onto the groom’s homestead and first headed to the kraal. There was a “fight” to enter the kraal where we all danced to symbolize our arrival.


The bride dancing in the kraal.

Then for a few hours, we performed for the wedding guests. There were traditional umtsimba, ummiso (female dance), and sibhaca (male dance) dances.





The sibhaca dance. The audience loved this one because these men were not wearing anything under their fabric.

The bride was paraded around the homestead, sometimes participating in the dances and sometimes sitting with her brother who was replacing the role of her father because he is dead.



The bride’s brother is holding the shield.

After the dancing, everyone partook in a fancy meal.

At some umtsimbas, a bed is brought into the yard and the bride and groom have to lie there during the ceremony as a symbol of oneness.



One of the male participants.


A close up of the bride’s outfit. The headdress is very similar to the king’s headdress for the main day of Incwala.



All photos are courtesy of one of my bhutis.

This entry was posted in Africa, Peace Corps, Swaziland, Tradition and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A traditional Swazi wedding, part three: Umtsimba

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