The Tanda Tula team always goes out of their way to make your stay memorable, but two guests had an extra special experience!
The American couple from Bowie, Maryland was on the journey of a lifetime in many ways. Both had been raised by parents who were focused on their African ancestry, and passed that passion on to their children. Since childhood each had dreamed of travelling to the Motherland, and together they decided to make the most of their expedition. Along with a group of close friends, they travelled to Cape Town to do some service work in one of the Townships, and then had a highly emotional tour of Robben Island where they deeply felt the spirit of Nelson Mandela. From there it was on to Tanda Tula for the full Safari experience, as well as a truly unique way to cement their commitment to each other.
This is a second marriage for both, and they thought didn’t want to do anything traditional. As it turns out, they just didn’t want a traditional North American ceremony. Their heart’s desire was in fact an ancient tradition- the African Dowry Ceremony.
Our assistant manager Krystle along with reservationist Dolphin enlisted the rest of the staff and set to work to create a spectacular recreation of this traditional ceremony in the riverbed next to the camp. Dressed in their most colourful finery, the staff played the parts of Rodney’s and Beverley’s families and ancestors and set about the complicated process of negotiating the bride price to seal the deal. Eventually, a large sum of money and cattle was agreed upon, as Beverly ‘s intelligence, education and beauty made her a valuable bride! After much dancing and rejoicing, everyone sat down for the wedding feast.
When the ceremony was over, Beverly said she absolutely felt married. “I don’t even need a minister now. I really felt the process! And that the staff stood in as family for us meant so much to us. They are such special people. This was amazing; the setting, the torches, the food. It was absolutely intoxicating.”
Congratulations to the happy couple!
Words and photos by Jacquie Gauthier