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I Was Afraid That My Black Feminism Would Be Incompatible With A Sotho Marriage

Would my raw, black feminism and the obligatory duties that would be imposed on me as a wife according to our Sotho culture be able to coexist?

13/02/2017 00:58 SAST | Updated 13/02/2017 15:34 SAST

After having been in a relationship for just over a year, my boyfriend decided he was ready to become my husband. I'd often pondered what being someone's wife would be like, but never would I have expected it to be so soon.

In the midst of all the discussions and preparations for this life-changing moment, the one question I'd constantly find myself asking was, "Am I ready?" I wasn't uncertain that I wanted him to make an "honest woman out of me", but whether I was prepared to compromise myself for my new role.

We've known each other for eight years and that's enough time for him to decide whether he sees himself living happily ever after with me. He's well aware of how opinionated I am and he's observed the many failed relationships I've broadcasted on and off the internet. That, and my tenacity to never submit to any man. He'd pointed out my feminism long before I'd identified it within myself, and we've had many arguments over some of his sexist remarks – so we both knew what we were getting ourselves into.

A week prior to the lobola negotiations taking place, I completely withdrew from our relationship and got lost in introspection. There was a lot I needed to process. Would my raw, black feminism and the obligatory duties that would be imposed on me as a wife according to our Sotho culture be able to coexist? Would I be happy with taking his surname? Would me choosing to be this amazing man's wife be considered as a betrayal of feminism?

I ran to him and expressed my fears. He reminded me why we chose to take this bold step to begin with.

On the verge of packing my bags and leaving a tear-drenched note written, 'I'm sorry, but I can't go on with this', I ran to him and expressed my fears. He reminded me why we chose to take this bold step to begin with. Not only did we find love, but we had both met our match in each other. That wouldn't change.

To completely renounce marriage because of its bad rep would be me giving into that bad rep – and we'd agreed to never succumb to any stereotype. It was that very sentiment that made me fully embrace the notion of "forever and always, in all ways".

If you're feeling the same way, I'd like you to use this excerpt from Lisa Miya-Jervis as your turning point:

"I didn't need the wedding to get that love and support, but neither does the fact of marriage automatically consign me and my man to traditional man-and-wife roles. Like so many relationships, married and un-, ours is a complex weave of support, independence, and sex. We achieve this privately - from the mundanities of 'you-have-to-cook-tonight-because-I-have-this-deadline-tomorrow' to sleepy late-night discussions on more profound matters, like the meaning of life or how many steps it takes to link Kevin Bacon to John Gielgud by way of at least one vampire movie."

The beginning of any marriage is a blank canvas, with the potential to become whatever you make of it.