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They say when you marry a man you marry his entire family

January 27, 2015

Not only must you learn how to put up with his demanding mother, you must also learn his culture and his family’s rules and regulations. This is when you really become a bride, a new wife and a daughter to your husband’s parents. In African cultures you are now makoti, a daughter-in-law.

Are you that young girl who grew up with a helper and is now a modern woman juggling life, love, career, children and a busy social life? The Lazy Makoti is just what you need before you get excited about marrying the hunk you met in the city, the man whose origins, traditions and family culture you have no idea about.

Moagu Sehoene is the brains behind the Lazy Makoti. She provides cooking lessons that teach potential daughters-in-law how to prepare and cook South African dishes to impress their in-laws, the new mothers in particular, who can be very hard task mistresses.

Traditionally, a makoti is required to live with her in-laws for a period of time after a marriage to perform duties in the home.

Things are changing and married couples now often find their own houses right away, but Sehoene believes it is a good idea to be prepared to marry into a traditional home.

That means you might work hard from dawn to dusk with little rest. If you don’t, you will be called the lazy makoti.

She said the idea came to her when her friend was preparing to marry and was required to go to kotisa (a ceremony that happens just after lobola has been paid). She realised that African girls have no clue how to prepare simple African meals.

In less than a year, Sehoene has taught more than 20 makotis how to make everything from steamed bread to chakalaka. The emphasis is on South African cuisine, but she said her most memorable lesson was when she had to teach a makoti , who happened to be an engineer, how to make eggs and bacon.

”I thought, she has an engineering degree but can’t even handle a fry-up. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

The 26-year-old from Polokwane in Limpopo is not married or engaged. But she believes that, according to culture, it doesn’t matter how big the car you drive, or how educated you are – if you can’t cook for your in-laws you’ll be labelled ”the lazy makoti”.

Traditional expert Ndela Nelson Mataka said there isn’t a specific time frame that a new makoti is required to stay with her in-laws. It varies from family to family.

“The makoti is on a probationary period, like an intern in the family, and her in-laws should use the time to understand her, too, and not treat her like a slave.”

But it’s not only black women who go through the provisional period of being a makoti.

A white friend spent her December holidays at her mother in-law’s house, where she was told that she was being watched and given “brownie points”.

Source: The Times

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