Two weeks ago, my new sister-in-law came to visit us for what we called "bonding time". The main objectives were to get to know her and to have her get to know us and also to get the traditional stuff underway. Ok, let me elaborate on the traditional stuff.
In our culture, when a girl marries into a family there are specific.... procedures that need to be done. First of all, the makoti (bride) is officially dressed by her sister-in-law (that's me) in an attire that sets her apart as the new bride.Her sister-in-law also gets to name the new makoti, because when she marries into a family she not only becomes part of them but she also brings certain qualities that will add onto the dynamics of the family. In giving her a name you are expressing the significance of having her as an addition to the family; you are speaking into the new life that lies ahead with this new family.
So I had the privellege as the eldest daughter at home of dressing our new makoti and giving her a name (mind you, my mom gave me a name to give to her and only told me afterwards that it was my job to come up with a name. thanks mom!). I also had to officially introduce her to the family by her new name - don't worry, it's all symbolic! no changes are made on birth certificates or anything!. I (or my mom) named her Siyasanda, which means we are multiplying; get it? Her joining the family means that our family will multiply from here on out. She is also a symbol of our unity as a family (and with that my eyes fill with tears of pride, lol)
When I look back on the 2 weeks that Siya was with us, I realise how blessed I am to have my family. I realise how proud I am to know that my identity is in these people with their unbelievable strength and colourful characters. I am privelleged beyond words to share my roots with them all. There is really nothing better than family!