Philip, my good friend, informed me about his beautiful sister, Dorcas coming to Nigeria with her Ghanaian fiancé, Mark for their Ghana-Nigerian traditional wedding, and that I have been hired to cover the event. The realisation that the event was going to be about two lovers from different countries was something that really picked my interest. I saw two individuals who left their familiar origins, traverse the length and breadth of their native countries only to find love in another.
Even in this 21st century, we have parents that still advice their wards not to marry from a particular town or village owing to their past experiences or unpleasant stories emanating from such destinations. I wouldn’t completely disregard such reservations held towards certain places as regard suitable marriage partner for one’s ward, as it their own experience which I am not privy to.
However, times are changing, long held believe systems are fine tuning. Integration especially in the area of conjugal bond between intending couples is pulling down all old believes and barriers and prejudices. Couples now see more reasons to fall in love and tie the knot and less and less reasons why they should not go after their heart.
Dorcas and Mark are a couple who are not oblivious of their cultural and national differences before deciding to take the plunge into the soothing and challenging waters of marital bliss. It is a decision between two adults to live a happy life together. The celebration of their love highlight the good episodes in the timeline of Nigeria and Ghana relationship which can be rough sometimes.
A short background on the countries’ socio-economic relationship. Nigeria and Ghana are the two big economies of west Africa made siblings out of because they shared the same colonial master which was Britain. Geographically, both countries would not have anything in common because they are not sharing a border. Nigeria is bordering countries like Republic of Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and not Ghana.
They however share a lot in common as a result of the economic and political linkages during the colonial era and having the same English language as their as their official language.
As siblings who would wait for their parents to leave the house before doing something concrete with their lingering beef, after both countries respective independence from the British colonial rule, they have had times of retaliatory political expulsions of each other’s citizens.
The rivalry between the two countries can be seen in the most trivial things; as to who cooks the best jollof rice and who is the best in soccer, to the serious ones; where Nigerian traders in Ghana were mandated to reach a $300,000 capital threshold or close shop, and the Nigerian government threatening reprisal policies to deport Ghanaian nationals from the country, calls for serious concerns and sometimes, something to laugh about.
If I am to put a song title to the back and forth relationship that exist between the two countries, I would go for one of Rihanna’s songs, “I hate that I love you.” Despite the ramblings and the rivalry, we have not stopped falling in love with someone’s daughter and son. I have seen quite a number couples where either the wife or husband was from Ghana.
This brings us to why we celebrate with Mark and Dorcas because in their own little way, they have shown us that they are a testament to the good and positive things that can happen between the two countries. By the way, some of us single guys are not too happy that a jewel as beautiful as Dorcas is being whisked away from us. Therefore I ask, what can we do to whisk away all their black queens from Ghana?? We are not going to take this drinking our coffee. ‘Project Marry Them All!’ Anyway, that is another article for another day.
Signifying his pure intentions toward Dorcas and his in-laws, Mark came in all-white atop the traditionally decorated red wrapper to pay homage to his in-laws. Mark and his groomsmen came with the fanfare like the one Aladdin came with to win the princess’s heart and take her away from the palace. Only that I did not see the genie in Mark’s case. But the Ghanaians made held their own and they weren’t quiet about it.
All my years as a professional wedding photographer, I could never get used to the overdrive all my senses shift to, when either the groom or the bride is making an entrance into the wedding reception. Oh my days; the colours, the array, the movements… the dance! Oh my God! Dorcas and her entourage of beautiful ladies adorning a cultural combination of the blues and reds and whites, dancing toward the reception, took everything normal that I hold dear away from me.
The rhythmic movement of the ladies and them dancing as though they have been practicing all their lives for this special day — that, right there, was enough to push me into a position I didn’t not envisage (instant overdrive) — to go for one focus point on my camera, having Dorcas on that point, and my index finger romancing the shutter button, and at every given opportunity for that perfect shot I was looking for, I was just hitting a home run every step of the way! “Bam, Bam, Bam, Bam!!” It was explosive.
And as these two lovebirds were joined together and said their vows, prayers were made by parents of the bride and the groom and prayers from the attending ministers. The part of this spiritual encounter that is most symbolic, in my opinion, was when parents of the bride and groom stood face-to-face, and the bride’s parents gently taking the hand of their daughter (Dorcas) and handed her over to their new in-laws. At that point she has become a part of her husband’s family.
From the time when the Mark’s family arrived and were settled in at Dorcas parents’ home and pleasantries were exchanged, to the time at the reception where the couple danced and celebrated their love, to the time they were prayed for and joined together as the newest couple in town, I didn’t not notice much of a difference between the two families.
Coming from two different countries and cultures, you are bound to have different/conflicting views and beliefs, but that did not hindered anything throughout the event. It only goes to show that where we have decided to plant love and water it to maturity, we can not be deterred by the change of weather, whether it is harsh or otherwise, we just nurture it to survival.
God bless the union.