Pandemic forces Africans to rethink big, bountiful weddings - GulfToday

Pandemic forces Africans to rethink big, bountiful weddings

African wedding 1

Bridesmaids dance during a traditional marriage ceremony. AP

Gulf Today Report 

For Ivan Arinaitwe, the plan was to have 150 people at his wedding but like any other African wedding, the number swelled to 300.

Africans are known for big weddings with guests numbering in thousands and festivities lasting for days.

No matter how he tried, it would be hard to achieve Uganda's recommended "scientific” wedding, slimmed down for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

African wedding

A couple after their traditional wedding in Zimbabwe. AP

In the absence of the pandemic, he would invite 1,300 people if he could. Now he worries about how the uninvited might react.

"It's a bit complicated, very complicated actually,” said the employee of a government research agency whose wedding is scheduled for April. "But we have a scapegoat of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will say, 'It's not me. It's what the government has said. If I didn't invite you, please understand.'” 

Arinaitwe is not the only person going through this struggle. A lot of Africans are opting for smaller weddings amid the pandemic.

The pandemic is forcing a change in communities where family can mean a whole clan and weddings are seen as key in cementing relations between communities.

Extended families often plan weddings, and large, extravagant ones are a status symbol in places like Nigeria, where over $2 million can be spent.

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