Umembeso: a zulu tradition that celebrates the union of marriage between two people but most importantly the union of the two families coming together because of those two people. Its an exchanging of gifts where the grooms family shows appreciation to the brides family by giving them gifts not only the immediate family this also includes the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, even those that have passed on are included, it also signifies respect because these gifts are requested a list is sent a couple months prior to the (main event) of what everyone would like. In the past it was mainly blankets, reed mats, doeks and clay pots and these days people go all out from branded shoes, apparel to gadgets to even furniture, I think now it has become a flossing platform or it could just be that the times are changing and thats good because for me culture is not a static thing but goes through an evolution so that the practices and the activities that are guided by culture are relevant and very much alive.
Recently attended one of these characterized by song and dance true unadulterated celebration. The days leading up to the main event are the best everyone is up in the morning around the same time, eat together, clean together and mini dance rehearsals which always end up as a girls night in. The best thing for me though beyond seeing old friends and family is when the neighbors bring 'ispheko' this is a contribution to assist the hosting family usually basic groceries, live stock or money and everytime this happens you will hear women (ululate) with gratitude. It is one of the most genuine things I have experienced.