Saturday, December 22, 2012

Can you dance the masteps?

Having promised to post the snake we found yesterday, I regret I am going to delay that for one more day - as more wedding pics deserve some air-time. (And....we have another wedding for 400 next Saturday - with Christmas in between. Eish!). Apologies.

However - those of you who have managed to read "Sorry for that!" will know that I have a particular fascination with, and fondness for, Zimbabwean weddings - and all the processes that are involved!

Right - the wedding. I am not sure exactly how many people attended - but I don't think it was quite 500 - maybe 450. That was still enough to keep me and my Staff of 11 busy! This is a small section of the crowd - and the knot of folk at the smaller tent is where the food was served. Luckily the rains held off, and we had glorious weather the whole day

As the tent could only hold around 200 people because of the area left for the "masteps" (of which more later), a good number of the guests were housed under the trees off to the side - which seemed to suit everybody. They were, in fact, totally removed from proceedings, but didn't seem to worry too much.

On approach to the reception tent - the groom held a small, lacy, umberlla over the bride to shield her from the hot African sun. (So lacy, in fact, that my poor camera couldn't cope!) By that stage the chief bridesmaid had had enough of holding the bridal train - so it was left to the bride to sort herself out, and the romance of the picture is slightly diminished by the two portable toilets standing to attention in the background!

One feature of black Zimbabwean weddings which is unknown to most folk is the performing of "masteps". And this needs a little explaining.....

When the Bride and Groom enter the wedding reception - they, and all their retinue - best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, master of ceremonies, etc, all perform a well-rehearsed and choreographed formal dance for the wedding guests. This is called "masteps".

I have seen several "masteps" performed, and they are all different, but all involve bobbing and weaving in unison - rather like the mating dance of an ostrich! And when I say rehearsed - I mean it. Quite often they have an hour of practice every night for the week preceeding the wedding. Not only that - but there are 'instructors' - most of whom come from Harare, and who are paid for teaching the bridal party their moves.

Masteps is such an integral part of the wedding reception that frequently - and this wedding was no exception - a large cleared area is left in the tent for the performance, and the accompanying music is chosen very carefully. Dancing in pairs, and doing your own thing on the dance-floor, does not really take place.

Can you imagine trying to get the groomsmen and best man at a western wedding to perform an intricate and complicated dance for the entertainment of the crowd? Nah - not gonna happen.

Here, then, is "masteps".....

Another............successful wedding!

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