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Wedding songs



We Africans are a people well known for their prowess in song, talented in the recital of beautiful intricately arranged verses of poetry, and we can match the voices and the words with an innate sense of rhythm and dance; we are unequalled when it comes to the expression of music, and our choreography is the finest in the whole wide world! I used to see weddings when I was young and they were happy affairs where the concept of mirth was explored to its fullest.  Wedding rehearsals began very early at the bride’s place, where a white flag stood hung on a high pole after successful bridal price negotiations and engagement, for the whole village to see that such a home’s daughter would soon be betrothed.

Young men and women would start practising the wedding songs as soon as this stage was over in preparation for the big day, the wedding day in which the gourmands could eat until they literally burst their tummies burst at the seams stuffing themselves with the sumptuous buffets and seven coloured desserts on the wedding day. The drunk would drink and get drunk until they forgot their own names, and forgot to which house they had come from on the day of “the white wedding”. Meanwhile, for weeks or months before the big day, the sarcastic wedding songs and the choreographic dance moves would be practiced by young women and men at the bride’s home. The same methodical rehearsals would be going on at the groom’s place in preparation for the big day; a day in which one side (the bride’s party) would mock the groom’s suit as shabby and label him as old and haggard whilst in the same breath praising the bride as a rare diamond which the “beastly and ugly” groom was said to have been lucky to find.

The groom’s company would retaliate with their own sarcastic and witty song, labelling the bride as an old hag of a spinster fortunate to have got the man she was marrying on the day, and ordering her to perform chores.  Weddings were back then an interesting affair that kept everyone in the village entertained, and there were exceptional wedding singers who always held the white flag, conducting their choirs with finesse, and the wedding songs . . .  the wedding songs were actually timeless classics that had crossed a few generations, having been passed from one generation to the next; their humorous sense of sarcasm and wit remains unsurpassed in my mind. I have been fortunate enough to have encountered the culture of the wedding song in its last years, before the advent of those snobbish affairs posing as weddings, where the music is played from blaring speakers, and the bride and the groom sit bored on their ribbon-decorated chairs.

I grew up in an age where photographers were kings and one needed not to travel to some far-away spot just so that they could have their wedding pictures taken.
I grew up in an age where wedding meals were not served only to the “invited”, but to all those congregated to witness the union of body, mind, and soul of the couple who from that day onwards become one after the rings were exchanged and the priest had blessed the union.  The weddings of those days lasted three days (if I am to exclude the previous months of intensive rehearsal for the wedding), and the food was everywhere, literally; one could eat until they became a ruminant, and one could quaff until they forgot their first and middle names, until the only name they could clearly remember was their father’s (and would declare in slurred tones “I am the son of so and so . . . ”).  I thought those days are gone, but it turns out I was wrong for the wedding songs have just adopted a different form and are now sung on a different level and platform.  Political slogans are in all essences wedding songs in this age where coalitions are common, and a coalition is in form a nuptial union where the larger party plays the role of the groom and the smaller ones play the role of the bride.

Could be seen differently by some individuals and I would not disagree, because that is their own opinion and perspective on what happens in coalitions, but I would still stick to my view that coalitions are in form and function similar to marriages; where there are constant battles within the family that have to be sorted out if the family is to experience bliss or some semblance of it for a larger part of the union if the marriage is not to end in divorce.
Divorce is actually not a joyous experience; it is a tedious affair with court cases, snide remarks, malicious altercations, and endless tiffs.
However, if one is to listen to the political slogans chanted during these moments where divisions between allies become apparent, one cannot miss the same amount of sarcasm and wit in the words as was heard in the wedding songs.

The same amount of care is still applied in the composition of the songs, the dance moves are carefully choreographed, and the pomp and the merriment are of the same kind as in wedding songs; the only difference here is that the flag is not plain white but is a coloured banner bearing the party colours.
The union between parties is a good practice, but the only problem is that they forget to design a standard flag that bears all their parties’ colours or at least some design that is of interest to all of them.  They call it coalition, but they fly different colours, which are in logical view nonsensical; for one cannot claim to be married but still keep different surnames, or, have one side’s heart finger wearing the union ring whilst the other does not have it. Many of us claim to be apolitical and are not interested in the politics of this land, but I find this stance as a symptom of an apoplexy born of dissatisfaction with the system of governance.

I find the claim to be apolitical similar to that of the atheist who claims not to believe in any god whatsoever whilst they have a chronic obsession with their countenance in the mirror like Narcissus had with his in the waters of the stream. Claiming to be apolitical whilst still making arguments about the state of affairs in the state is at its most basic hypocritical denial of the obvious; you can never be divorced from that which you kiss every morning, and that which keeps your world balanced to a certain reasonable degree even if you claim to have no interest in it. Being a travelling handyman, I look at the various headlines hung on poles on my way to work, and they in my head are similar to the titles of the songs I hear on the radio; songs that goad and rile, that mock and lure the listener to other level states of mind, that draw fervent support of the party followers.  Look at the headlines and hear the party slogans played on the million radio stations in a country of a million citizens and you will fall in love with the political madness going on.  Listen to the comments of the ruling party’s members as the slogans are played and you will understand what it means to be in government.  Also give a listen to the caustic remarks of the losing parties, and you will realise that it will take at least a millennium before this country matures to the required level of political awareness, where the needs of the masses are of more importance than the vilifying propagandas of the popular unqualified political analysts.

Slogans and wedding songs are similar in a lot of ways, but I prefer the latter form of song because it delivers a message of union between all the parties involved in the huff and pass of the wedding day.  The political slogans of this day have adopted an unsavoury character. About five years ago, I witnessed the recording of party songs by a motley crew of individuals that included a blind man, an old lady, an individual with albinism, a party henchman, and various individuals of unknown origin. I was glad to be part of the crowd watching the recording session, for it was an interesting event that would spur the political spirits of the masses that would go on to vote a new form of government into power.

From those songs, a new coalition government was formed, but it would go on to last a mere half term.
One hears the same songs sung these days and the coalition government in power faces the brunt of a political storm, and whether or not it will survive it is dependent on the level of understanding of what true democratic politics mean.

Political democratic governance was invented for the sole purpose of letting every individual have a say in the harmonious running of the state
It was adopted as a system of rule that would grant the citizens their basic right, that is, the right to peaceful interaction with their neighbours; but if it descends to the point where individuals seem to believe that they have a right to vituperate the ruling government based on certain perspectives that under normal circumstances can be amicably resolved, then such a democracy is not a democracy but a mere gossip session where one side believes their view to be more right than the other side’s standpoint.  It is of no sense to think one is in a democracy if one side sees the other as “the other”, for there should in logical democratic circumstances be no concept of the other exercised.  All of us are neighbours and fellow citizens that have to share the meagre and the plenteous resources afforded into our keep by nature.  The fact of the matter is that we should have a peaceful state to live in. Anyone that wants their word and their song to be heard above the interests of the ordinary citizens, that is, the individual that believes their interests hold more clout than those of the state and government, is playing the role of the rogue propagandist who should be charged for the crimes of sedition and high treason; for their act soon stirs the minds of the citizens into orgies of violence and dissension at the expense of peaceful rule where all individuals are granted the right to express themselves in a harmonious manner.

That people end up conquered is not due to weakness in battle; people end up conquered because they have weaknesses within their midst.  Those constant snide remarks that could be of better use as rational advice that promotes the welfare of citizens should be done away with. Those gossip sessions disguised as caucuses must be terminated, for out here, one soon hears them on the radio and reads their often one-sided views that in no way express the maladies unemployment and increasing poverty levels have bequeathed upon this kingdom of plenty. We starve not because we lack, we starve because there are struggles instead of co-operations to utilise available resources for the benefit of all the citizens of the state.  If the chanting of the slogans was reminiscent in form and function to the singing of the wedding songs, and if the political slogans were chanted for the sole purpose of wit and humour, then the political struggles that have landed this country in the murk it now is in would not be. Get a sense of humour and you will soon realise that slogans are composed for the sole purpose of keeping party members entertained at those boring party rallies.

Those rallies would be tedious affairs were there no songs sung to keep the spirits of the attendees up with humorous lyrics.
If the songs you sing deface and abuse the being and the countenance of the next individual, then they are not songs in rational terms.
They are just chants expressing megalomania. Wedding songs are meant to make the day of union a day of merriment. What wedding songs are you now singing?

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