With deep respect I acknowledge the producers of the bitter liquid of our times. They are responsible for many good things and bad things, depending on which side of the glass you are looking at. Those in the business of gathering and trading information I am certain sing their praises from sunrise to sunset. Those that are victims of the former rue them to their deathbeds but as the African Proverb goes, One man’s meat is another’s poison.
Growing up in a typical African setting one is prepared for most of the challenges that one encounters in their life journey. It was with utmost pleasure that I met with one of our most treasured village personalities who took it upon himself to share with me some of his highlight moments in life while participating in one of the cultural norms – “Kurira Ente”
In the Kikiga culture, this is but one of the many traditional wedding ceremonies where the groom’s elders visit the home of the soon-to-be bride and feast on a sumptuous meal as a treaty on delivery of the cattle requested for as bride price. Traditionally the groom’s side would seek the gentlemen that could ably represent them at this visit to the bride’s home. I am not sure how this would work out today as we live in an era where “eating” is not considered a profession per se. The smaller you are, the more camera or eye-candy you are and regular invitations to eat as much as four portions in one seating would not bode well for weight management. On the other hand, after such a heavy meal, it was and is only right that the appropriate drink is taken by the guests. This was the point at which the local brew came in handy. Once the food and drinks flowed, the conversation also flowed.
A few years ago, after one such event the groom’s elders were forced to deeply reconsider their acceptance of their son’s choice of a bride. It was while the drinks flowed and the conversation flowed between the groom’s elders and some elders of the bride that it transpired that all the glitter they believed they had in the new bride was not gold as they had been led to believe. Now at this point, you should also know that the Bakiga attach a very great importance to Honesty and this was the one value they had been duped about (!) Had it not been for the very diplomatic and persuasive, “Kateera Rume” this was one sealed bad deal. The disappointed elders went home. After the ceremonies had been completed, the new bride had an uphill task to demonstrate to her new in-laws that she was actually all they could have hoped for in a bride for their son. After many tumultuous years, she emerged the winner.
I am not sure if she had any wasted years but I believe behind those doors, she shed lots of tears and covered her pain with a bright smile a lot of the time. And what was the genesis of this? Food flowing, drinks flowing and conversation flowing…..and like they say, the rest is history! My friend, beware in whose company you have your drinks lest it comes back to bite you right where it hurts.