Some aspects of our cultures greatly affect us and bind us in mediocrity

Net File.

This past week-end, I had  the  opportunity to travel upcountry for a retreat of  one of the charities am involved in , when I was on my way home, I saw newlyweds(bride and groom) walking on the street with their bridesmaids and the crew. Did I mention that they were WALKING? It is definitely not often that I see newlyweds walking on the day of their weddings. Most weddings that I, probably some of you as well, have attended are usually accompanied by fancy cars, expensive dresses, luxurious venues, you name it! When I saw this couple, of course I was taken aback and they made me think about the very content of this new blog.

I live in a culture that greatly encourages solidarity and fraternity. We are called, from a young age, to help our brothers in need; in times of troubles, and rejoice with them in times of joy. That is great! Who wouldn’t appreciate such a society? However, these very same aspects of our dear culture make people lag behind and bind them in mediocrity. You may ask me how solidarity can lead to mediocrity; let me illustrate this for you with a personal story.

The wedding season, in several    African communities , is one of the most stressful season (you could also say happy but I omitted the comment). I think it is only in Africa where the invitees, the organizers and the couple are equally stressed. The pressure of solidarity becomes unbearably stressful when a wedding turns into a fundraiser where those invited are blackmailed into giving. If you do not contribute, you should not even attend the wedding. And the sad thing in this situation is that the couple is solely relying on the donations to organize a ridiculously expensive wedding.

Wedding Venue. Net File

The African culture  does support solidarity but to what extent should this be tolerated? If people let this aspect of culture drag them into a hypocritical form of begging (blackmail and forceful giving) where would this stop? My friend, a few months ago, borrowed a large amount of money from me to  help him support his family this was after his wedding. WHY DO YOU GET MARRIED IF YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE RESOURCES TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING? Of course I did not say this out loud but it was a clear disappointment. However, I am not blaming my friend; this has been fed into the minds of us Africans from generations.

Back to the first couple that was walking; I cannot express how happy I was that they did not feel the urge and need to waste millions on a single day. And, did I mention that they were HAPPY? Many people, especially women, equate the cost of their wedding day to the happiness of their marriages. It is NOT the amount of money you spend on your wedding or engagement ring that will build your marriage.

As a married person (and I’ve been married for some time), I would like to propose to young lovers out there planning to get married; PLAN YOUR WEDDING ACCORDING TO YOUR FINANCES! Please, do not drown yourself in debts before you even celebrate your first anniversary! It is not worth it! I am not saying that your wedding day is not important. I am saying that there are more important days to come. Do not waste your money on imported flowers, rugs, and wines. Save your money for your future, your children, and maybe a house? You should plan for a wedding that you can afford. Do not try to impress people.

Net File.

Unfortunately, us Africans have been trained to impress; “Fake it till you make it” is our motto. We take captive of any opportunity to prove what we are not. This is one of the biggest reasons why we throw extravagant weddings. We worry about what people (who don’t even care about us) will think about us. We want to impress people who do not matter. I am writing this because it is high time that we change things around.

We will forever drown in poverty if we do not stop investing in things with no returns. I would personally rather help a sick person, than spoon feed a young man organizing his lavish wedding. If you do not have enough money to get married this year; get married NEXT year! Do not beg! Work Hard! And by the way you might even get married without having a 1000 people at your ceremony .THINK ABOUT IT!

When we start believing in self-reliance, we will value hard work, savings, and time. I do not think that those who will attend your wedding should be as stressed as you are. Take time to plan and organize not just for the wedding day but, most importantly, for the marriage! Even if it means that you will walk from the church to the venue, if that’s the cost for a happy and healthy marriage, do it. I surely commend the couple who arrange their wedding the way they could afford it and not how it is expected of them. Remember, it is not the amount you invest in your wedding day that will make your marriage happy.

This question goes to my followers how can we use our rich culture to embrace development? Remember Japan was once poor but after the world war II the embarked on development by exploiting their culture.


You can reach us at ryarasa@ryarasa.org




8 replies »

  1. well well well, It’s a wonderful reflection but, most of the time made by those who are already married and have spent millions on their wedding events…(then here comes the Q: why should I not have the same as…) I have just came to a conclusion that pple follow the routine cse there is a lack of a serious model (another way , affordable to do it) for pple to change their minds…we need those. ariko byo it’s going crazy pe! tx 4 da subject!

    • I heve mentioned how we don’t need to invite a thousand people to feel like it was a successful wedding. we must always remember; it is NOT the Wedding that is important, it is the MARRIAGE. That is where the investments should be made. Invest in things that have returns. It is not easy to break the norms but it is highly necessary.

  2. Spot on Joseph….but the question is, did you also walk on your wedding day like that couple that impressed you? i guess not! Now ur gonna tell me u fully sponsored your wedding, right? i doubt! Now i fully agree with u on these costly weddings but somehow u are obliged to spend a hefty lot however much u trim your budget! Example, some expenses are inevitable e.g…
    1. Bride price these days the least you can pay is 1M,
    2. venue, it’s a rainy season and you have to rent the venue, here u have no option coz open gardens are expensive as well
    3. Rent….obviously u have no house in Kigali, and landlords take this opportunity to fork out of you a 4 or 5 months rent
    4. Equipments. Before you thought of getting married, u stayed in a one-roomed house that would not accommodate your stuff and once u shift u leave the rags behind and buy everything starting from the bed, mattress, seats….etc
    etc, etc….
    Now before you think of fancy cars, drinks, decorations and everything for the wedding day, u’ve already spent a minimum of 4 Million! How long would it take you, a salaried civil servant to save this much in this damningly expensive city???
    It’s worse when both of u are educated and ur fighting for your and your parents’ pride!
    I honestly do not see another solution to this issue other than changing our culture…..maybe if the government would heavily tax wedding venues and wedding-related services like decoration, or fix a minimum and affordable bride price or remove it… maybe people would come back to their senses!
    By the way, have you noticed that when a couple gets married when a lady is already pregnant, the wedding is normally not lavish!!! or sometimes they don’t even have a wedding! LOL..

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment on the post. First of all, I would like to tell you that I budgeted for my wedding. I had thought about what kind of wedding I wanted and started saving TWO YEARS prior to the wedding day.
      Yes, people contributed but those were my parents’ friends who chose to do so as their own initiatives. However, the cost had been covered by my savings and the donated amount was used just to embellish things a bit more.
      The reason I wrote this blog is to invite people to enhance their planning skills. If I could do it, everyone can do it. A wedding is not something you save up for three months before the day. Take your time! What is the rush? The lady (or gentleman) will run away.
      We need this spoon feeding culture to die and it has to start now. Your wedding is YOUR responsibility not the neighbors’ or the coworkers.
      Can I submit to you that the culture is gradually changed by the people? I like the fact that Western nations do not feel the urge to pay a dowry. the wedding is planned by both parties.
      Thank you once again.

  3. Dear Joseph,
    Thank you so much for this recall, I totally agree with you, I am very concerned about this and I really feel bad to sit in a wedding meeting and see how people accept to be stressed by the budget deficit for the expenses that they have decided themselves. Is it possible to change this culture of inviting a thousand of people in the wedding? The richest people in the world are the ones to invite less people in their wedding. Some people get in conflict with their family relatives and their friends because they have not been invited in the wedding, this has to change in order to save our new families other wise it doesn’t make sense to wish your kid or your friend a one day of good celebration and waste all his/her savings that should help them to build their new household. Why should I feel uncomfortable because my friend or my relative didn’t invite me in his wedding?
    I think we need a new generation to change this culture of inviting many people and dreaming the expensive and luxury offers without considering your means and your future.
    Thanks again to raise this issue.

    • You said it right my friend! It is high time that all of this changes.It is true that most people fear what “others will think” if they are not invited in their weddings. But should one ceremony drown you in Poverty? I would advise to invite the most important persons and the rest will eventually understand. However, do not drown your savings for one day.

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