I’m not sure you’re really married.


Last weekend, I attended the wedding of some of my very close friends. It was a beautiful wedding and it was so nice to see them finally marry, but as I was leaving I realised that they forgot a vitally important part of the wedding ritual.  – A ritual specific to white people throughout the whole of South Africa, and most likely practiced by expats in the UK and New Zealand as well. Yes, they walked down the aisle, exchanged vows, rings and kisses. They signed the registry, were announced under their new name and we all threw confetti at them. But something was missing. It’s such an ingrained white tradition (among Afrikaans and English alike) that most people don’t even notice its presence. However, ever since a Sotho friend pointed it out to me a few years ago, I’ve become aware of this ever present wedding tradition and was shocked, shocked, by its absence! No one in my generation has ever skipped this ritual before and without it, well, I’m not sure you’re really married.


You see, somewhere between the time when they opened the dance floor for the couples first dance and the time when they left for their honeymoon they forgot …to play …Mandoza’s "Nkalakatha".

I know! How is that possible?

"The Macarena" doesn’t always get a spin, "The Time Warp" went away and came back, and thank heavens people finally got bored of "The Cha Cha Slide", but "Nkalakatha" has been an ever present item on all wedding reception playlists since its release in 2000. Yes, 2000! – That’s how old it is! Other songs that were released around the same time were "Breathe" by Faith Hill, "Bye Bye Bye" by N’Sinc and "What a Girl Wants" by Christina Aguilera. - And no one ever listens to those any more! I danced to this song at my matric dance more than 10 years ago and even then it wasn’t a new release.

How did this Kwaito song infiltrate white culture to such an extent and stay there? And what does it even mean? Does anybody know? For all we know it could mean “save the children”, it could mean “at least you’re almost as hot as the maid of honour”, or it could mean “You should really get that chicken-shaped mole on your face seen to”, but it doesn’t matter, us white people wouldn’t care! We love "Nkalakatha"!

As strange as it is that this song has become the white people wedding anthem of the century, what I can’t get over is the fact that after all this time we still haven’t figured out how to dance to it. Heck, we still can’t even pronounce it properly! It has to be the most awkward of wedding rituals - second only to drunken disapproving father of the bride speeches - but more necessary. How could they forget it?

I’m going to post a link to the song here, partially because according to the map thing on this blog I have quite a number of international readers and I’d like them to understand what I’m talking about. (If this is not humourously strange to you I would like to remind you that South Africans also refer to traffic lights as “robots".) But the main reason is because I’d like appeal to white people everywhere to play it, turn it up and dance awkwardly and out of time to this in honour of my friends. It’s not too late - we can save that marriage!



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Sharon Waugh

Sharon is a writer, cruise ship entertainment host and freelance unicorn wrangler, living it up on the high seas. She also likes to photograph a plastic lawn flamingo in exotic locations because it seemed like a good idea 10 years ago and 53 countries later, it’s probably too late to turn back now.

 Sharon greatly dislikes reading “travel blogs” by people who are just rephrasing press releases or composing lists like “15 ways to travel the world for cheap”, specifically formulated for SEO, with absolutely no evidence that the writer has ever left their bedroom. (This is not one of those blogs.) Sharon also dislikes bigotry and referring to herself in first person, apparently.

To find out more about Sharon and Rodrigo’s travel aspirations read this.

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