Siyazingca Nyatela and Nomagugu Msimanga

My name is Nomagugu Patience Msimanga, am a young woman born and raised in the rurals of the North West.

Growing up was taught, like most girls, to put God first in everything, finish school, have a good career,  get married to a good man, have kids and live happily ever after. That was the cycle of life, a perfect life.

I too, like many others, lived my life striving to achieve all that, in that particular order.

Finished school at 17 and enrolled for an "upgrading" course the following year as I wasn't sure of the career path I wanted to follow. At 19 my life took an off ramp and I fell pregnant. Boom!! All of a sudden now the life cycle I was striving for was messed up. Gave birth and went back to school though. Was now faced with the reality that "things don't always go according to plan".

Got even worse when my child's father left me when the baby was just 2 months. Argh, life had to go on right. Finished school, stayed at home for some time looking for a job and eventually got one. Was dating here and there, trying to "find" myself and determine what exactly is it that i want in a man. One thing I knew just after having a child though was that I didn't want a man with a child🙈🙈🙈, selfish I know, and I didn't want a man who had sisters🙈🙈🙈. Funny enough the kind of guys I dated either met one or both of my "criterion".

After a couple of unsuccessful relationships, which my previous one was the hardest, I met this guy at church conference. God knows it was definitely NOT love at first sight. After a year or so of dating and breaking up he proposed. Was rather surprised and shocked, in tears even. Didn't know much then but I knew I loved him and would definitely build a life with him.

A year later he paid lobola to my family and the wedding date was set and the ball was rolling with the preparations. On the day of the lobola he told me that he had honoured his word as he had told me round about when we first met that he was gonna marry me and I laughed in his face. I felt so honoured and favoured that somehow my life cycle was coming back to the main road it had deviated from.

On our wedding day, as he made his vows my heart felt heavy, had butterflies in my stomach. I couldn't believe this was finally happening. We had glitches with our decor person that last minute plans had to be made the night before. It was really stressful. Ended up not getting what I had wanted and paid for but was grateful that God made sure that I didn't become a laughing stock. My day was perfect nevertheless. I will eternally be grateful to my family and friends who stepped up to make sure that I got the perfect wedding I wanted.

With the planning for the traditional wedding, nerves for the actual day and event weren't there as such. Was rather nervous about the time I was gonna spend with the inlaws after the wedding (ukukotiza). We have all heard of how inlaws can be monsters and all those bad stories. My bigger worry was how my child was gonna adjust to the new family and vice versa. How it was gonna be for us, especially not being Xhosa and not being familiar with any of their ways and traditions. My husband tried to ease the stress, but the anxiety just wouldn't go away.

The day came, what a beautiful ceremony it was. Got tragic news of the passing of the minister who was to bless our day during the reception, may his soul rest in peace. Celebrations continued nevertheless. The following day my family left, my mom cried so much, making me cry as well. It was so painful somehow. Reality had hit. I got my act together and remembered that "The will of God will never lead you where His grace will not keep you". I was not alone. I spent 3 weeks with my inlaws and what I thought was going to be the longest period in my life went by so quickly. By the end of the three weeks I didn't wanna go. My child had blended in like she was born there. It was so heartwarming to watch. It was so amazing seeing how my new family did not compromise on their culture. The love and warmth they gave me was overwhelming. I was taught how to treat my husband, how to conduct myself as umolokozana wooGaba, how to treat abantu abadala, etc. The time there taught me everything that ur modern makoti would take for granted.  I definitely also got to know my new family better, their rituals and ways of doing things, and they also got to know me better. I was so honoured. I can boldly say I have the most amazing inlaws in the world, they are my family. I love them to bits!

Coming back home I was still dressed in their makoti outfit (amadaki). Was told I should continue to dress like that, it should be clear to my family,  my friends and my colleagues that I am now a married woman. Boy did it show. I got so many people noticing my "different " dress code and that somehow brought such a sense of dignity and pride. One colleague and friend of mine said she admired how I wasn't "cheating" even though my inlaws are so far. Told her it's all out of respect and love for my husband. Yah all in all, the whole process has really humbled me, and most importantly,  brought me closer to my God. Things could've turned out so different if wasn't for His will. I am indeed highly blessed and favoured. I serve a Mighty God and will continue to live my life for Him. I am grateful!! I am indeed a happy wife, married to the most amazing man in the world, my husband Zukile Nyatela!!

Yours faithfully,

Mrs. Siyazingca Nyatela

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