Friday, April 6, 2018

Article Excerpt: "Kola Nut In African Traditional Marriages" by Kweku Darko Ankrah And YouTube Video From Sierra Leone "Put Kola " by Arkman

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides an excerpt from an online article about the ceremonial use of kola nuts in West Africa.

This post also showcases the YouTube video "Put Kola" by Sierra Leonean singer Arkman.

Selected comments from this video's discussion thread are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.
for his mus
Thanks to Kweku Darko Arkman for this article, and all others who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to Arkman for his music and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

..." Chewed for extra energy, identified with local deities and taken as an aphrodisiac, the Kola nut has been a major part of the fabric of African life for centuries. Apart from its importance in the social life and religious customs of people in the tropics of West Africa, in every traditional gathering, Kola nuts are highly esteemed channels of blessings. It is used during ceremonies related to marriage, child naming, installation of Chiefs, funeral and sacrifices made to the various deities in Africa.

Igbo proverb: Onye wetara oji, wetara ndu.
English translation: He who brings kola nut, brings life.


Uses of Kola nut in Marriage and Weddings
As earlier noted, Kola nut is used as a masticatory stimulant by Africans and has numerous uses in social, religious, ritual and ceremonial functions. When it is given as a gift, Kola nut indicates respect and gratitude. Those who chew Kola together show to the world that they love and trust one another. Anthropologist Susan Drucker-Brown avers that among the Mamprusi people of Northern Ghana, a gift of kola is utilized to initiate an on-going relationship in which the recipient may be expected to a future request from the donor. She explains that Kola is also associated with courtship, and Mamprusi “marriages are established by a distribution of Kola which passes through the king or chief.”

To understand the role of Kola nut in traditional African marriage, it is very important to demystify the concept of presentations (payments in marriage) and the typology marriages in African societies which have been transported into global arena under the aegis of modernity. In all the societies that Kola is used in their marriage rites, there is ample evidence that in the past that society practiced some form of “capture” marriage.

In this form of marriage, a suitor tricks a woman he intends to marry into his or his friend`s house, and forcefully seize her into his family compound for safe-keeping amidst screaming and struggle. Alternatively, the suitor will seize the woman he wants to marry whenever he comes face-to-face with her. The seized maiden is kept in the man`s family house for a day. Depending on whether that society is acephalous or centralized, the suitor and a member of his family (father or uncle) goes to the chief`s house or the maiden`s family house to announce their act of capturing the maiden, and to assure them of her safety. Some cash and gifts of Kola are given to the King or the maiden`s family. In a society where the King plays an important role in the marriage, such as the Mamprusi, the King, upon receiving gifts from the man`s family, use some of the money to invite the maiden`s family into his palace to accept cash and gifts from the suitor`s family. The Kola given this way is called, gift of message Kola, and it symbolizes peaceful notification of the maiden`s whereabouts, the suitor`s intentions and reaction of the maiden`s family to the suit. When the message Kola is accepted it is presumed that the match is approved, but if it is rejected then it means the family of the prospective bride intends to regain their daughter from the “capturer.” The message Kola does not legitimize marriage even when it is accepted.

The second presentation of Kola is made to the maiden`s family to express remorsefulness for capturing the maiden, and this is called pardon Kola. The Pardon Kola, received from the suitor`s family by the King, is given to the maiden or the bride`s family or the father. In a non-centralized society, the suitor`s family gives the Pardon Kola straight to the maiden`s or the bride`s family. The Kola is chewed immediately by the members of the would-be bride`s family to signify their acceptance. Drucker-Brown contends that the acceptance of the Pardon Kola signifies that the loss of the maiden in her natal home will cause grief, public renunciation of her family`s claim to their daughter and at the same time it ensures children she may bear obtain protection from her agnatic ancestors. However, in the case of divorce, Pardon Kola and the gift of money are non-refundable.

This ancient capture typology of marriage had fallen into disuse as a result of modernity and Christian religion. But the time-honoured use of Kola nut as a symbolic object to ensure its socio-religious and juridical legitimacy has maintained its effectiveness in the traditional marriages of certain African ethnic groups such as Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Mamprusi, Dagomba and many others. Thus, global marriages of Africans in the diaspora with links to any of the African societies which used to practice Capture marriage had witnessed the proliferation of Kola nut usages in the global weddings and marriages.

It must be noted that in global marriages, Kola nut plays two significant roles, as a message Kola and a Pardon Kola. A message Kola is given to the woman`s family and is chewed, making them witnesses to the entire process of the courtship between the suitor and the woman. This process takes place long before the marriage ceremony. On the marriage day, the drink (palm wine or pito/millet drink) is sent from the woman`s family to the man`s family, which is consumed, but the empty tumbler (glass) is filled with money and Pardon Kola. The chewing of the Pardon Kola by the woman`s family makes them and the public observers who attend the ceremony to be witnesses to the marriage. The Kola in the empty tumbler (glass), with the bride`s hand covering it whilst walking in the full glare of the public is seen as a kind of registration of marriage, which is also an insurance in case a dispute about the legitimacy of the marriage arises."


ARKMAN, Published on Nov 10, 2016
Here's statistics about this YouTube video as of April 5, 2018 at 10:44 AM EDT:
68,569 views- total number of views

360-total number of likes

19- total number of dislikes

23 - total number of comments

Numbers have been assigned to these comments for referencing purposes only.

1. conteh76, 2017
"I taya for listening to Nigerian music finally I can listened to a sierra Leone music that makes sense, good job πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘"

2. Shreyas Atre, 2017
"can anyone give the meaning or subtitles in English?"

3. Assiatu Sesay, 2017
"Shreyas Atre( put kola) mean, I want to go and engage you.the whole songs is about, how the lady was there for him when he was nothing. so now that he has become somebody he want to pay her back, but in a good way"
In standard American English “I want to go and engage you” = "I want to be engaged to you" ; I want to ask you to marry me.

4. Shreyas Atre, 2017
"Assiatu Sesay Thank you for your kind explanation. Is this song very famous in Sierra Leone?"

5. Augustus Williams, 2017
"Shreyas Atre yeah this song is one of the hottest right now"

6. Hawanatu Pratt, 2017
"Shreyas Atre
it means, Take me to your mum, dad, uncle, auntie, brothers and sisters to engage you!"

7. Fatmata Bundu, 2017
"all you said is true very emotional song it makes you think twice I hope every men remembered that when someone been there for you when you don't have nothing please remembered her when you became somebody one day. keep it up Arkman every time I listen to this song it makes me cry. S/L music on the map..BravoπŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ˜—πŸ˜™"

8. Denis As, 2017
"finally watin ar bin dea watch for ar don see am proud of my country✋✋"

9. Mamadou Aliou Diallo, 2018
"I will play this music on my wedding day"

10. khalil f Conteh, 2018
"Salon music 2 d mark
"Salon" (usually [?] given "Salone") is a colloquial referent for "Sierra Leone".

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