Dowry Ceremony


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

5 thoughts on “Dowry Ceremony

  1. We want to say thank you again to the entire staff at Tanda Tula! Our Dowry ceremony was simply amazing, and we will never forget the warmth and generosity exhibited by all the staff involved. We will recommend Tanda Tula to our friends and family, and will return again and again!

    -Rodney and Bev

  2. I am one of Beverly’s and Rodney’s friends who journeyed with them to South Africa for our group vacation and their special celebration. The detail and care with which Tanda Tula put into the dowry celebration for them was nothing short of SPECTACULAR! We were all blessed to be a part of this very moving experience of the Shangani dowry ceremony.

    • I am Beverly Crockett’s daughter, Lauren Alysse Taylor and I have to say this is the most amazing wedding I have every seen. Even though I was not in attendance, I still am very proud of what they accomplished in Africa. Hopefully the next time they go I will be able to join them and meet you wonderful people.

      • Lauren,

        I am Rodney’s big brother, James Young and even though I’ve been out of touch with my brother for quite a while, I am extremely happy and moved by the article and the photos on the website. I can’t imagine a more beautiful way to commit one’s self to another, than through such a ceremony. Only wish I had been there.

        I know precisely how they felt visiting the Motherland as I told Rodney over the phone the other night, I had the same experience when I visited Ethiopia and Kenya many years ago. I felt more at home, more at peace on the continent than I’ve ever felt anywhere else on the planet.

        Some day I am planning to take my 2 daughters to where I believe our ancestry originated. It is at the top of my bucket list.

        So it would appear that the ceremony now makes us family. It would be wonderful to meet you some day and I look forward to that event in my life.

        To the Tanda Tula staff:

        The sheer beauty of the photos were emotionally overwhelming. Thank you.

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