Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party and the politics of Owanbe (Concluding Part)

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Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party and the politics of Owanbe (Initial Part)

[Analyses]–The thrills of the highest-grossing movie in Nigeria, The Wedding Party, is yet to fully dissipate its euphoric content and that’s why I am here again. It is on the lips of everyone who has a taste bud for excellence and has been a beneficiary of a delectable wedding party – one with the traditional touch of “Owanbe.” In my previous piece, I started a discourse that shed lucidity on the talking points of the iconic motion picture, The Wedding Party. This is the concluding part.

The Cultural Conflicts

A string of scenes voiced silent undertones about the glaring irreconcilable differences between the Igbos and the Yorubas. Often times, interactions between these two tribes exude a dearth of genuine love. However, there are a few exceptions that have yielded successful intertribal marriages and beautiful “hybrid” homes.

The film also accentuated the differences between the Efik people and the Igbos. If you have sustained lengthy conversations with the “core” Igbo people, it is true that any random person from the South-East cannot be addressed as an Igbo. Those who get a bit of cultural education after making such mistakes are usually the Yorubas because majority of them think that everyone from the South are all the same.

Signatures of cultural exchanges between the Western world and Africa were replete in the movie. During the course of her British education, Wonu inherited a sophisticated accent which was confused for professionalism and unduly used as a means of intimidating her subordinates. At the end, she attempted to retrace her steps but it was rather too late. Don’t get me wrong, I love timbre of the British accent but you should know where to use it.

Food remain an integral part of our cultural interactions and it played out seamlessly when the guests of the Onwukas rejected the exotic dishes. For a dish to be exotic at a wedding Party, it must be a local delicacy that is blessed with the right proportion of spices and a mound of solid food that can birth a myriad of morsels. Despite the ongoing blind embrace of the Western culture, the tongues of Africans still long for the meals of their forefathers.

The flipside of the coin is the glow in the eyes of the Whites when they come in contact with the richness of the African culture despite its antiquated state. This is an open testament to embolden opinions that believe that the uniqueness of the African culture is irreplaceable. Yes, it can never be replaced with the aestheticism of civilization. The kneeling of Ms. Winston to greet the bride’s father and Yemisi’s overt reluctance to do the same is a clear representation of the potential erosion of our revered cultural values. To crown it all, the awe that enveloped the crowd when Ms. Winston joined the cultural dancers speaks volume about the strange feelings we nurse when foreigners show appreciation for our culture.

Traditional concepts of gender

In recent times, there have been a plethora of debates initiated by conversations surrounding gender bias and the ever-growing imbalance between the male figure and the female figure. These debates have fostered the growth of freedom fighters and activists branded as feminists. In several African circles, the traditional beliefs set the tone for the classification of some jobs along gender lines. It is natural for a female caterer to be in charge of all the meals served during a party and the same goes for a male police officer to be in charge of the security around the premises of a wedding party.

In a dramatic fashion, The Wedding Party gave life to subtle and salient strides made by some charismatic individuals who have decided to change the narratives when it comes to jobs fixed along gender lines. The resplendent bride was dressed in a classic wedding gown made by a male fashion designer, Mai Atafo. As against the long-standing beliefs of having female fashion designers craft wedding gowns, Mai Atafo, a Nigerian bespoke fashion tailor, is blazing the trail of fashion design with a blend of aesthetic passion and extraordinary professionalism. Asides the plot featuring Atafo, a female DJ was also spotted in the Wedding hall as one of the folks aiding the speakers to spew tones of eclectic music. That’s another divergence from the existing gender classified jobs.

Family core values

In the end, the importance of the family and the role it plays in a harmonious society was clearly emphasized by a catalog of scenes. Every successful wedding is expected to lead to the paths of marriage and eventually a blissful home. Bliss, joy and peace will deliberately be absent in climes where there is dearth of unity and love. The family of the groom, the Onwukas, fits as one bereft of love and unity as a result of marital infidelity on the part of Chief Felix Onwuka.

Within twenty-four hours, the love between Dunni and Dozie had epic hiccups as the playful past of the groom almost caught up with his present life of a saint. The tactics of the slay Queen, Rosie, the groom’s ex-girlfriend, pulled off some stunts that almost toppled the wedding plans. Shortly after surviving the thorns of roses planted by Rosie, the couple had to deal with the carelessness of the best man and his horrifying speech. The movie brought traditions that are rapidly zooming into extinction from our societal space to limelight – vows of chastity and remaining celibate till after marriage.

For the couple, they looked forward to their first night together and wish they could fast-forward the wedding party.

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