Women at a Wedding

Women at a Wedding
These ladies were guests at the tribal wedding of Thokozani and Ngoblie in July of 2008. Their joyous smiles say it all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Braii at Gideon's


Tonight we were treated to a braii at the home of Babe Gideon. A braii is what we would call a cook out or barbeque. Babe Gideon is the Evangelist at Kukhany Ohusha, which as best I can figure is the officer in charge of the business workings of the church.
We arrived at Gideon’s home at about 6:30, which is well after dark. Bear in mind it is mid-winter here. Gideon’s home is high on a mountain side on the outskirts of Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland. We were welcomed by the entire extended Dlamini family. Make Lindelwe, Gideon’s wife assured us the cooking was completed, save for the meat and the men were given the task of preparing a fire outside on which the meat would be roasted. There were several men much younger than I, and in the Swazi tradition, they did the work and Gideon and I visited. Soon we were warming ourselves by a roaring fire. The African winter nights are very cool, so the fire served as the outdoor gathering spot. A fire had been laid in the fireplace in the great room of the Dlamini home as well, so guests tended to migrate back and forth, mingling and socializing. The night sky was breath taking and those who knew astronomy commented on the constellations and how they appeared different in the southern hemisphere. As for me, I only knew that there must be a million stars and I couldn’t tell Mars from Uranus. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist)
The bo bhuti (the younger boys) began preparing beef, chicken and sausages over the open fire and the Makes began laying out the feast indoors. As the preparations were underway, the Bishop arrived. The Bishop is the highest ranking official in at Kukhany Okusha and though he is in failing health and now completely blind, he still has a commanding presence. On my first visit to Swaziland, four short years ago, I came to know Babe Bishop as a powerful and eloquent speaker and a leader of the church in every sense of the word. It is both sad and shocking to see how his health has failed in such a short time. He has, after nearly 30 years, decided to step down as Bishop, and this Saturday Babe Mkhonta, the pastor of Kukhany Okusha will be consecrated as the new Bishop.
I have often said that Babe Mkhonta is perhaps one of the finest men I have ever known. He cares deeply for the church and has a kindness and caring that is both genuine and heartfelt. I know the transition to a new Bishop will have its challenges, but I can’t help but believe that the church will thrive under the leadership of once so dedicated to his people and their trials, of which there are many here.
After the meat was done, we were treated to a feast. All of the dished were authentic African recipes and it was truly delicious. As is often the case, no utensils were provided and we ate with our hands. My favorite of the dishes was chokolocka, a spicy stew of cabbage, beans, peppers, and other ingredients I can’t remember just now. However, Babe Gideon’s daughter has promised to write the recipe for me and bring it to the consecration on Sunday.
After dinner we all gathered in the living room around the fireplace and sang together. Make Happy, the Bishop’s wife commanded everyone to get on their feet and dance. Soon we were all singing and dancing and clapping and thoughts of orphanages and homeless children seemed far far away, at least for tonight.

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