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Precolonial Africa: Submission or Liberation? #SoulfulSundays

So there’s a long running debate on cultural practices that we shared in precolonial Africa. I’d like to say upfront that I don’t believe that how we practice our marriages have any bearing on unity as a people. I believe that as long as we are engaging in healthy, life-giving (man and woman), relationships, we will be able to build families around strong bloodlines and generational wealth building as we move towards liberation. The foundation of societies are strong families, but I want to use this blog post and video to debunk that all of precolonial Africa practiced patriarchy and submission.

This is part 1 because, I want to go way more in depth about this. In this video is use 3 models: my Igbo culture (Nigeria), the Himba people of Namibia that I lived with when I was teaching there, and Ghanaian culture based on accounts from Ghanaian friends to show that women were honored as the life giving vessel, seen as closer to God because of our ability to give birth, and esteemed amongst society. God was also genderless as a being, I’ll get into that in part 2. Let me know what you think of this video!

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Jumping the Broom, no, Crossing the Sticks? Or Both! #Throwback Black History Month Post

Hello All! This blog post featured below is probably the shortest blog post I’ve ever written, but not much explanation was needed. I’ve often had to challenge myself when it comes to Black history. Something that seems so small usually means something so big, but the narrative having been watered down doesn’t always allow us to fully appreciate it. Just as any other culture who has customs, when it is told in it’s original form, not downplayed by outsiders, it can be authentically passed down to generations. Well, considering the great value Africans held for nature, I am pretty sure this crossing sticks custom held much more meaning outside of slavery, but when that communication was cut off, we had to reinvent many traditions, however, we’ve always found a way to remain African. That is why for us specifically, who have had our cultures robbed and forced to replace with others, being African is in spirit! I remember once meeting a woman who had love for basketweaving, and she told me that once she did her ancestry test, she found out that the tribe she is a descendant of from in Ghana was famous for basketweaving. I mention this because, melanated gems, we may have love for something that may mean so little to those around us, but it tells a greater story of our ancestry than we ever knew. Wow! This excerpt is longer than the original blog post, enjoy below!

CULTURE TUESDAYS

We’ve all heard of the wedding tradition of jumping the broom, but what about crossing sticks? Crossing sticks is a tradition that dates back to the slavery era where African-American couples demonstrated their commitment by crossing tall wooden sticks. Crossing the sticks, represented the power and life force within trees which, for the couple, symbolized a strong and grounded beginning.

❤️

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Igbo Marriage Tradition: #Throwback Black History Month Post…

Hello All! Let’s learn about the Igbo Marriage tradition on this fine Valentines Day. I took these pictures at my cousins traditional wedding in Nigeria in 2011. We do not need western traditions! I think it is interesting that non western cultures always have 2 ceremonies to validate their marriage, when our ancestors were perfectly fine with one, sophisticated ceremony. Quick fact: the white wedding dress became popular because of Queen Victoria, not because of tradition, it was a fashion statement. Every culture, especially we as Africans believed brighter colors in weddings showed one’s status in society, as you can see in the below pictures. The purity of the whiteness came from presenting a white sheet to the bride’s father to show her virginity, that never had anything to do with the dress. Even though that wasn’t Black history, that was important history, check out today’s Black History blog post below, originally written on May 17, 2016!

CULTURE TUESDAYS

 

Marriage
in Igboland is not just an affair between the future husband and wife but also
involves the parents, the extended family and villages. First the groom asks
his potential partner to marry him. Assuming that this is affirmative, the
groom will visit the bride’s residence accompanied by his father. The groom’s
father will introduce himself and his son and explain the purpose of his visit.The bride’s father welcomes the guests, invites his daughter to come and asks
her if she knows the groom. Her confirmation shows that she agrees with the
proposal. Then the bride’s price settlement (Ika-Akalika) starts with the groom
accompanied by his father and elders visiting the bride’s compound on another
evening.

They
bring wine and kola nuts with them, which are presented to the bride’s father.
After they have been served with a meal, the bride’s price is being negotiated
between the fathers. In most cases there is only a symbolic price to be paid
for the bride but in addition other prerequisites (kola nuts, goats, chicken,
wine, etc.) are listed as well. Usually it takes more than one evening before
the final bride’s price is settled, offering guests from both sides a glamorous
feast.

Another evening is spent for the
 payment of the bride’s price at the bride’s compound when the groom’s family
 hands over the money and other agreed prerequisites. The money and goods are
 counted, while relatives and friends are served drinks and food in the
 bride’s compound. After all is settled, the traditional wedding day is
 planned. The wedding day is again at the bride’s compound, where the guests
 welcome the couple and invite them in front of the families. First the bride
 goes around selling boiled eggs to the guests, showing to both families that
 she has the capability to open a shop and make money. Then, the bride’s
 father fills a wooden cup (Iko) with palm wine and passes it on to the girl
 while the groom finds a place between the guests. It is the custom for her to
 look for her husband while being distracted by the invitees. Only after she
 has found the groom, she offered the cup to him and he sipped the wine, the
 couple is married traditionally. During this ceremony, there is also the
 nuptial dance where the couple dances, while guests wish the newlyweds
 prosperity by throwing money around them or putting bills on their forehead.

Nowadays, church wedding follows
traditional marriage. During this ceremony, the bride’s train, made up of the
bride followed by her single female friends, enters the church dancing on the
music, while the guests bless the bride’s train by throwing money over the
bride and her entourage. The groom receives the bride at the altar for the
final church blessing by the priest. Sometimes, the traditional marriage is
combined with the reception that is then preceded by the church ceremony.

Be sure to click the link above to watch a video of a traditional Igbo wedding!

-Description taken from http://www.igboguide.org/HT-chapter11.htm

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Jumping the Broom, no, Crossing the Sticks? Both! – Culture Tuesdays

CULTURE TUESDAYS

We’ve all heard of the wedding tradition of jumping the broom, but what about crossing sticks? Crossing sticks is a tradition that dates back to the slavery era where African-American couples demonstrated their commitment by crossing tall wooden sticks. Crossing the sticks, represented the power and life force within trees which, for the couple, symbolized a strong and grounded beginning.

❤️