COUPLE: Ropina Lankoi and Joyce Nambaraka
PHOTOGRAPHY: Maafleva Entertainment
In the traditional Maasai setting, weddings are a colourful affair. For Ropina Lankoi, the groom and Joyce Nambaraka, the bride, their wedding was something their peers only dream of; a blend of both traditional and modern vibes. Their union brought together two Maa sub-tribes, Ilkisonko and Irkeek Oonyokie.
“We met in 2014. I was teaching at PCEA Kimuka Girls and Joyce was a student at JKUAT, Karen Campus. She made me a beaded bracelet and the rest, as they say, is history,” Ropina told Wikendi. The pair agreed to blend the two themes kicking off with the traditional wedding. In the Maa culture, the process is done in different stages, each with its own name.
Esirare: Notifying the girl’s parents. If approved, after confirming a few details such as blood relations (you cannot marry from the same clan), the groom is asked to come with elders (parents).
Enkaputi: Negotiations kick off. However, dowry price is not discussed at this stage. Endung’oto oo nkishu: The bride’s family is hosted at the groom’s home to discuss dowry.
Erewata oo nkishu: The groom and his best man take the agreed number of cows on a set date and notify the bride’s parents the wedding date.
On the eve of wedding the entourage arrives at 5pm and after pleasantries and nourishment, the marriage takes place (Enkitanapare). The elders tell the groom exhaustively about their daughter and their expectations. Then give a talk on marriage and both parties depart for preparations for the big day.
On D-Day, people wake up as dawn breaks and preparations are done including donning the many traditional beads meant for the day. “We woke up at 5:30am to start preparing because we had a long day ahead of us.
I come from Kiserian and Ropina’s is from Isinet, Loitokitok,” Joyce shares. Once everyone is ready, goats are let out of the pen and then the groom and bestman go to the bride’s mother’s house and come out with her. Elders await at the boma’s exit with a blanket from the bundle of blankets brought as part of dowry.
The bride walk under a raised blanket to receive blessings and prayers from elders. “Blue is our favourite colour, that’s why we chose it as our theme colour for our wedding. We wanted a garden wedding, and we hired a wedding planner. She helped us come up with the set-up.
Our total budget was just over Sh400,000,” Ropina informs us. “When it came to the cakes, we each had our preference, but knowing the crazy love my hubby holds for handball, we got a couple of handball inspired cakes (a court and the balls), and a few others inspired by nature,” Joyce shares.
“My friends supported me when it came to the programme and travel. Many carpooled from Kiserian to Loitokitok. Again, my team from Maafleva Entertainment provided quality entertainment,” Ropina reveals.
“This is the best step I have made in life. Both ceremonies showed how the community is advancing when it comes to embracing modernity.
Anyone planning to get married should get the right partner for themselves, and once you are sure of that, go for it. Pray for divine guidance and God will direct your ways as he promises in the Bible. Have in mind that it is your day and remember to have fun,” Joyce advises.