Amatebeto symbolizes appreciations

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Last week, I said Icilanga-mulilo is a low-key event meant to make a man taste the cooking of his mother-in-law to be.

It is not for all the men’s relatives to participate in, including his parents. Ideally one plate of nshima with chicken is all that is needed to be prepared.

Then comes Amatebeto which symbolizes appreciation.

Amatebeto (Ukutebeta) is a ceremony held to show appreciation by the parents of the woman for the way her husband has taken care of her (and her family) over the years.

It is not done for every husband, only for exceptional ones. The period the man should have been married could be 10 or more years.

This is where a lot of food (and beer) is served and the man, therefore, invites his family members and friends. The food is taken to the man’s house.

Unlike what I read recently on social media, it is not the wife who ‘tebetas’ her husband; it is the wife’s parents.

The wife has many opportunities through which she can do that, perhaps involving her friends but not her parents.

After Amatebeto then comes Ukwingisha.

This is the ultimate honour given to the man by the parents of his wife.

It is held after many years of marriage (perhaps 20 years or more) when the man being honoured, most likely, even has grandchildren which means that the man is now ‘equal’ to his father in law in terms of the responsibilities he has handled.

The father in law to the man invites his son in law to enter all rooms in the father in law’s house including the main bedroom.

The reasoning is that the father in law is very old now and his son in law may be the only person to look after him should he fall ill (in some cases male children of the father in law could have left the village and gone to stay in the villages of their wives).

Sometimes plate of nshima with chicken could be wrapped in a citenge material and as the man is checking the room where his parents in law sleep he is made to check under their bed.

Then he has to pick the ‘parcel’ that he finds there.

As people stay long in marriage, the man eventually becomes like a friend to his father in law.

They can eat and drink, and undertake many activities together.

Ukwingisha is a very big feast – more important than the wedding and amatebeto and could go on for some days with people eating, drinking and dancing.

You ought to know that in all the marital events, the Bride has no role to play but her parents showing respect and honour to their son in-law.

The Independent Observer

John Sakala is a Journalist yearning for independent journalism

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