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  Arts & Living
Kenyan Couple Stages African Wedding
By Millicent Omollo
Staff Writer
Bride and groom, Euslah Kigen and Isaac Cheruiyot with a pastor in center

It is typical of most weddings, particularly in Africa that the family makes a vital component. However, a Kenya couple defied odds last weekend when they tied a not in a glamorous wedding far away from home. Isaac Tanui and Eusla Kigen wedded in a church in Bosan, near Seoul.

Without the presence of their family and childhood friends, one would expect that this wedding would be a quick rush of events just to get it over with. It was not. Compared to a typical contemporary wedding that usually takes for at most an hour, this Kenyan wedding in a church ceremony conducted by Nigerians, time was never an issue, so it seemed. I remember a story about a white man, while in a tour of Africa, pondered why most Africans seem not to be sensitive to the clock. His African host answered, “See, in Europe you have clocks, but in Africa we got the time… relax, Sir!”

Well, I arrived a little late for the wedding last Sunday due to some reasons and so I thought I had missed the most important part of the ceremony. I felt like the wedding was over and thus I should have gone back home, but a friend insisted that I should climb the stairways and attend the church function to see for myself. I don’t regret going up.

“Do they do these in every wedding or was it only in African weddings?” some guests wondered. To many Africans friends present, the whole program brought in an African milieu. The message from the pastor, though addressing the newlyweds, was so deep that the rest of the congregation including myself was greatly moved. “Marriage should be guided, among other factors, by love, respect, sacrifice and hard work,” said the pastor. I would add that the females seemed to have agreed with the pastor the most going by their “ayes.”

Right after the signing of the marriage certificate by the newly wedded couple, and their close associates, the wedding procession relocated to Hotel Yullim for the reception. Quite obvious I realized how much of fashion mix I had missed due to my tardiness because it was very apparent that majority of those who attended the wedding had dressed to kill.

At the background was African section music sometimes booming guests to nodding their heads or shaking their legs. The opening remarks were said by the Kenya Community in Korea (KCK) secretary general, Mr. B. Kamary. He thanked the guests for honoring the newlyweds with their presence and asked them to support them in the new marriage journey. KCK chairman Mr. Patrick Ntonja later in his remarks added that, “it was wonderful to have an African style wedding away from home.” He wished the couple a successful marriage life. Others who spoke in the wedding include representative from the US Military where Eusla works, pastors and friends from Eusla’s church.

The bride looked lovely, a sight for sore eyes if you asked me, and her smile in that white gown and the long veil did not make it easier for the single men in the room (I can bet you it was rather obvious from the looks in their eyes) .The groom, on the other hand, was impeccable in a deep black suit. As a woman I can attest to the fact that for a married man he stood out and I can only savor my words and let your imagination spin through. Those who wore African attire were sparking too.

The hall was full. This couple had good friends I tell you. When the time for the first dance came, an African music was played and because I loved the song so much, I found myself on my feet and dancing to the music with the crowd cheering on. The crowd joined in and turned the scene into a kind of standing ovation to the newest couple in town. The jigging stopped only at the intervention of the master of the ceremony. Just like a typical African style celebrations, guests chimed and ululated with excitement. Finally came the meal time.

The menu was exotic. There was pilau, fried rice with mixed seasoning spices, beef stew among others. The dishes were so delicious and that memory of home dishes became real especially with chapatti.

The wedding, which started at 2.00pm at Redeemed Church of God, ended at around 8.00pm at the reception. Now that might be half the time for a real African wedding back home but where else can you witness such a length wedding in this side of the globe? That is why I suggest you make time and attend an African wedding to settle your imagination. Meanwhile we wish the couple success.

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Millicent Omollo serves as Staff Writer for The Seoul Times. The Kenyan writer is conducting her study at ChungAng University in Seoul as an exchange student. She was majoring in Physical and Health Education at Kenyatta University in Kenya. She is interested in learning Korean language and culture. She can be contacted at






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