It seems both African governments and people are doing less in supporting the ‘African brand’ initiative that is meant to promote African made goods among Africans and the rest of the world at large. Furthermore, this initiative was suggested as a wake-up call for Africans to counter off competition from foreign imported goods that flooded the African markets. And besides countless efforts and campaigns to implement the initiative, African government seem rather relaxed to consider the initiative as law or something near to a law. With that in head, it’s no doubt African will always be dependent to foreign manufactured goods that are of low quality and expensive.
Statue symbolism syndrome
Further, it can be observed that most African governments and people are tolerant to foreign goods in spite its quality and price to locally produced goods. And the reason can be attributed to what I will term as ‘status symbolism’ or just an African syndrome which I will diagnose and with time a suitable prescription will be suggested to help cure it. A status symbol is a perceived indicator of economic or social status and ownership of a foreign good is seen as a major breakthrough in many African setup and this has left a lot of families in debts due to wanting to fulfill the statue symbol syndrome. And it is even more shocking to learn that supporting of Europeans footballs teams and buying its expensive merchandise is more of a economic or social success while never supporting or buying merchandise of an African team. To make it clear, I would want to state that the is no harm in supporting a foreign team or good, but the question still remains who will support African teams and goods if we do not support them and secondly, is there a possibility of non-Africans outside the continent supporting our football teams like we support Manchester united or Barcelona? And on days that the famous el classic is to be played in Spain, one can observe a parade of jerseys in Africa of either Barcelona or Real Madrid and It is possible to think of a public holiday only to discover it is just a football match, but the atmosphere is completely different when TP Mazembe or Zanaco United is playing nobody seems to care even our local newspapers would prefer to run headlines of the Barcelona match to Asante Kotoko match.
Being in Zambia after four years away, introduced me to a new reality of financial stress among yet to be couples who found themselves locked up in heated financial stress and pressure of wanting to please everyone. The crunch of financial stress turns most brides and grooms into beggars who are willing to auction they marriage for few donations from family members for a fairy-tale wedding. It is this harsh reality that most young couples find themselves in even before the announcement of wedding dates. And more drama unfolds when the bridegroom is charged an out of space bridal price fee also known as ‘Lobola’, that puts the now confused young man in a state of shock while asking if the bridal price could be reduced since he is unemployed, but madly in love with the yet to be bride. As the bride helplessly looks on with eyes facing the ground and hands held together as a gesture of respect as the bridegroom humbles himself in a last plea for mercy to the yet to be in laws who seem willing to listen, but not convinced to reduce the fee. Notably, after negotiations, wedding announcements are made, relatives from all walks of life appear and hijack the moment and a new hunt for elegant gowns begins while relatives battle each other for wanting to be matrons with some enrolling their whole clans as bridesmaids or knife boys. And in all these things the bride and groom have little or no say because their wedding has been turned into a ‘family affair that’s sends out a message of statue symbolism to enemies’, under these circumstances, young couples are forced into a state of financial stress in the name of pleasing the now extended family.
And the point mostly overlooked is, the is life after wedding receptions that will require a lot of finances, hence spending lifesaving's on a wedding reception without a steady income is suicidal and chances of recovering is low. On the positive side, wedding receptions are beautiful and a source of lifetime memories, although this may be true, never play ‘fairy-tale’ with finances.
And not long ago, I begun to embrace the concept of ‘minimalism’ a phenomenon that practices full minimization in capital, time and relationship. Even though, this phenomenon dates back to the sixties, it is important to understand that it touches all activities of our lives. And in connection with what I observed in Zambia weddings, I am fully convinced the idea of minimalism can be ideal for many young couples who are undergoing pre and post wedding financial stress.
Pre wedding financial stress can be prevented by firstly knowing your financial status as an individual and then as a couples, then ask yourself the question of what you can afford without seeking assistance from the bank or relatives. The knowledge of one’s financial status before looking at what others did for they wedding will save the young couples headaches. The idea to operate without competition of ‘who did that’, under the supervision of a wedding expert we give the couple the will to seek new ideas without pressure, but within they means.
As for the post wedding financial stress, I must accept that it has caused a lot of premature marriage break-ups because as soon as the wedding and honey moon ends the blaming games starts then fights and regret cements the beginning of the crisis. But all this can be prevented, when a couple knows its financial muscles and having attended atleast five weddings that ended up within 24 months, I can confidently state that the is more to a marriage than a fairy-tale wedding and minimalism can be a long awaited answer.
And to conclude with a caution, statue symbolism is a good achievement but it should not kill our dreams and reality and I want to state that the ideal of minimalism also works for students not only couples. As a student this has helped me save money and generate more to lend to fellow students, therefore, for those of you who would like to embark on the journey of minimalism remember money depreciates and appreciates every second, with that in mind use it with a caution of what you would want to do next.