Xhosa Wedding

The Xhosa people live in parts of South Africa. Most of them live in the Eastern Cape region. It is the second biggest province in South Africa. All together there more than 8 million Xhosa people.

Traditionally groom's family chooses a bride for him. Then the "ukutwala" or "taking" is performed. The groom's family take the bride to his home. She can return home anytime. This act shows the intention of the groom to marry her. Nowadays this tradition is very rare.

The dowry paid to the bride's family is known as the "lobola". It traditionally includes cattle or to be more precise up to 8 animals.


The traditional Xhosa wedding or "ukwenda" is a big event for the whole local community. It last for at least two days. The wedding ceremony is held in the groom's home. Some meat is sacrificed to the ancestors.

The wedding has many rituals. One of the most important ones is called "utsiki". The groom's family prepares some goat meat and sour milk. The bride ("umakoti") has to eat them.

The newlyweds walk down the road and show themselves to the whole community. This is known as "ukucanda ibala".

With the marriage the woman enters the new family. Traditionally she gets a new name. After the dowry has been paid the bride gets a special gift from her family.


Xhosa people


Xhosa marriage


African cultural weddings



Xhosa bride (photo by South African Tourism, Flickr)