Monday, December 12, 2005

Shake What Your Ancestors Gave ya!

This weekend, I had the pleasure of going to a bridal celebration for a South African couple in Baltimore. This is a couple that I've met only recently. They are traveling to South Africa within the next couple of weeks to have a traditional SA celebration of their union. Actually, the Bride is South African and the Groom is an African American from Baltimore (I use the term African American only to differentiate between the two because we're all just Black folks to me). They are a beautiful couple and they love each other very much. Now, whenever I go to a celebration for anyone of just about any culture, I find a way to participate in whatever is going on culturally (without being pretentious). Culturally, my experiences have ranged from Caribbean to Latino. I've only recently come into contact with people from Africa over the last couple of years. I love the similarities and I especially love the differences that they have with African Americans. South Africans love to sing, dance, kiss, and eat. They also love to talk politics no matter the educational level.

The music at the party was all South African music and a little Reggae. Yes, it would have been nice to hear a little Hip-Hop or R&B, but this particular party was strictly South African and I was cool with that. So, I watched a little and I danced a little just as I always do. The songs were in their language, but hell...I don't usually listen to the words that I'm dancing too anyway...just give me a beat. Anyway, there were other people at the party also from Baltimore. I counted three women and the mother of the groom. Unfortunately, they did not seem to enjoy themselves the entire time. They fixed their plates, found a place to sit and it was all she wrote until it was time to leave. They seemed shocked and amazed as they watch a shapely gathering of South African women turn the front living room into a dance floor. The bride sat in the middle while the women gave her praises and well wishes through song and dance. I found it to be a beautiful sight.

I felt bad that my fellow African Americans were not able or willing to open up and appreciate what was going on. Maybe they saw it as too distant from what they or their not so distant ancestors were accustomed to? Perhaps they were just observing and the experience would be different next time? Nevertheless, the South African men and women seemed oblivious as they danced well into the midnight hour. I joined in and I had a fantastic time! After all of my observing and dancing, there was one bright spot among the groom's relatives. The mother of the groom eventually got up out of her chair and began to dance! The women began to shout and clap as the weak, but determined woman rocked from side to side to the rhythm of the music. I laughed and clapped as well as I witnessed the old woman from West Baltimore revisit her African past. It was beautiful!

Note: Thhe woman that is the subject of this piece died recently. May she dance and shout in a
joyous voice for all eternity. Peace~
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