Rethinking African Christianity –Vitus Ozoke

By Ikenga Chronicles December 29, 2016

Rethinking African Christianity –Vitus Ozoke

This is what happens when you abandon your culture and religion for the white man’s way of life. Mouth-to-mouth kissing is not an African thing. I’m sure many will think this young bride does not love her groom.

Truth is that true African women are not genetically programmed for public display of affection. Like the queens they are, they have dignity. Does anybody have a picture or video of Queen Elizabeth publicly kissing Prince Philip?

In traditional African marriage, there is no such thing as kiss your bride. The closest thing to that, at least in Igbo culture, is when the bride is given a cup of palm wine, asked to take a sip of it, and then go give the same cup to her groom, who would gulp the rest of the cup.

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Now, there is a very powerful symbolic ritual that accompanies that simple act. The groom is not with the bride at the time she receives the cup of palm wine from her father or other elderly male representative from her family. As a matter of fact, it is presumed that the groom and the bride have not met, at least that day. The bride receives the cup, sips from it, and must now go locate her groom, who is somewhere in the crowd. The act of searching through the crowd, rejecting overtures from eligible bachelors as she does that, is a reaffirmation of her commitment and love for her chosen man. And when she finds him in the crowd, they unite – and for good. That is culture.

Bride Price Payment: A Stupid Tradition

At that point, there is a permission to proceed from the bride. For those who make the inane and uninformed argument that African brides are given away without their consent, this ritual is the clearest manifestation of consent. Brides have been known to register their protest and non-consent by either gulping empty the cup, pouring away the palm wine, or handing the cup to another man, perhaps their preferred lover.

When a bride gives that go-ahead, the party starts. There’s dancing, eating, drinking, and the whole shebang of merrymaking. The final act of marriage is the symbolic tendering of bride price. It is symbolic because it is designed to acknowledge the cost and effort of the in-law family in raising a marriageable bride. Contrary to the argument that it signifies a sale of the bride to her groom, who could now treat her like an acquired chattel, the bride price is merely symbolic. I like reminding my western friends who peddle that sale theory that spousal abuse and domestic violence occur daily in western homes where bride price (sale) is not part of marriage contract.

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That’s African traditional marriage right there! It is a beautiful process. Couple so married are free to begin a family. But here comes white man’s Christianity. In addition to the already concluded African traditional marriage, the couple must now begin the elaborate and expensive process of a white wedding (so appropriately called).

White wedding is one clear evidence of identity crisis for African Christianity. Public kissing is un-African. As far as African culture is concerned, mouth-to-mouth kissing is sexual. And like everything sexual, it should not be publicly done; and of all places, the church! Some will argue that mouth-to-mouth kissing is not sexual, and that I’m engaged in extreme sensationalism. Well, my simple answer is: if mouth-to-mouth kissing is not sexual, why is it that blood relatives don’t engage in it?

And just when you thought that white wedding couldn’t get any more bizarre, there is this tradition of the groom publicly going under the bride’s dress, high up her thighs, with her legs spread and kids watching, in search of the garter. Don’t even get me started on the sort of couple dances that go on at white weddings these days. You couldn’t find daylight between some couple dances and strip club lap dance performances.

Black Is The New White

And when kids play house (and wedding), they kiss, they reach up the thighs, they give lap dances, and we wonder where they learn those from. Well, they learn them from officiating pastors and priests – in churches.

Africa needs to return to its glorious culture. The white man’s religion has not served us well. Heck, the white man’s religion has failed even the white man! Many cultural issues have brought the white man’s religion to crossroads. Western Christianity is in a state of tailspin. It is in a complete state of identity meltdown.

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Africa is worse. We were forced to embrace a religion we knew not its god. As we were about to discover its god, adopt and elevate it to our God, we discovered that its chief priests and acolytes had a set of practical bylaws, different from the constitutive document we were sold. Now we must embrace practices that contradict our normative conscience. We must kiss publicly, reach up her thighs in search of garters, and give outrageous lap dances at white weddings. We are doomed! We are doomed because we have already set the gods and shrines of our fathers ablaze as part of the grand bargain for a foreign religion. And when we approach the Pope for definitive clarification, he gives a non-answer answer: who am I to judge?

Well, like Pope Francis, who am I to judge? You may kiss the bride. And the groom, young lady!

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