Zulu Girl for one Day – Wedding Time in South Africa


Zulu girl for one day! Today I would like to tell you about a really special day of my year 2015.

My friend from university, who originally is from South Africa, announced that she is getting married in March! Obviously, I didn’t even have to think twice and booked my flight to Johannesburg a few days later. I could not miss that!

The Wedding in South Africa

I arrived 3 days before the actual wedding took place. By tradition, in South Africa weddings last several days. In our case, we had a traditional African wedding day and let’s say, “normal” wedding day how we know it in Europe.

The organization is in the hand of the whole family, and let me tell you, these families are huge – mother, father, brothers, sisters, cousins, close friends, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, maids and so on. So, we ended up decorating jam glasses, writing name cards, printing the wedding program, placing the chairs and tables, etc. I have to say it was very chaotic but a lot of FUN!

As my friend is originally part of the Zulu tribe, we had a traditional Zulu wedding day and I got to be a Zulu girl for one day. 

What does that mean? I was given traditional Zulu girl tribal clothing which was a red skirt and a beautiful beaded necklace. As almost everything has meaning, you can tell a lot about African women by the way they are dressed or what they are wearing. If a girl wears a long skirt and covers her head/hair you know she is married. While girls with short skirts are still single. Now you know my status. 😉


The traditional ceremony is a really colorful event filled with lots of music, singing, and dancing. In the beginning, each family brought a goat that has been exchanged. This is a symbol of financial support and a kind of guarantee that the groom will take good care of the bride.

During the ceremony the father agrees to the wedding, makes the bride basically available for marriage and presents are being exchanged. Each member of the bride’s family had to sit down on a chair, being surrounded by loud singing and clapping and was given a present, such as blankets, dresses, hats, jewelry and other goods. They then responded and showed their thankfulness by throwing their legs up high in the air and “screaming” out loud.

The traditional ceremony day is more about the families than the bride herself. On the second day though all attention was dedicated to the bride and groom.

Even though, in the beginning, luck did not seem to be on our side.  It started raining like crazy and delayed the wedding for about 2 hours. However, it turned out very well in the end. We had a beautiful outside wedding ceremony, reception, and after-party (of course!).

Traditions during the Wedding in South Africa

If you think it ends here you are wrong. On the next day, there was one thing left to do. Who can guess what?

Exactly…what about the goat? By tradition, the goat is being slaughtered. The groom then has to wear the gallbladder 24hours and afterward bury it in the garden. This serves as a symbol of fertility.

Once again, I wish you all the best for the future and hopefully a soon reunion.

The remaining days we explored Johannesburg a little bit. You can read more about a bike tour through Soweto – Johannesburg’s suburbs.


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