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Feel Good: Things women wish they knew before “ukukotiza”

By: Natasha Archary


Ukukotiza is often referred to as an “induction period” for women after they’re married. It’s traditionally a custom where the groom’s family guides his new bride on family practices and a Makoti’s responsibilities in relation to her husband. 

While the process involves getting a new bride acquainted with her in-laws, and familiarising her with the domestic duties a wife would take on, there isn’t a stipulated timeframe for ukukotiza. 

Many new African brides learn after the wedding that the groundwork for navigating the the threshold with in-laws should have started with their spouse. 


Being Makoti and Umkhwenyana

Times are changing and so too are relationship dynamics with the in-laws. It’s not always that Makoti has to deal with a terrible mother-in-law who doesn’t feel she’s good enough for her son. 

As one listener on Feel Good shared with Andy, her relationship with her mother-in-law is one built on mutual respect and understanding. 

“I can’t relate to problems with ukukotiza, my mother-in-law is amazing and I love spending time with her. The only issue really is that because my husband was an only child, my mother-in-law wants my child all the time.” 

The same cannot be said for Makoti who moves in with her in-laws and starts her life as a wife in her husband’s family home. 

For most women who marry, ukukotiza makes them feel like the family maid and entails, cooking, cleaning and pandering to their husband’s family’s needs around the clock. 

All this whilst raising children and ensuring her husband’s needs are met. 

While your umkhwenyana may be okay with you being a top microwave chef and enjoy your meals, his family might be less charmed by it. There’s nothing wrong with respecting the in-laws with small behaviours like wearing a doek at their home – let them be the ones to tell you to not wear it. The same with not wearing pants. Again, different families have different values and traditions.

Listen to the Feel Good conversation with Andy Maqondwana: 

Marriage is a decision

Change is inevitable in a relationship because the two of you develop, learn about each other and about yourselves as you interact with each other. 

Being married is a decision that is taken by a couple but your relationship now involves both families too.

Many men place a big emphasis on their relationship with their mothers. Mommy’s boy aside, their wife’s relationship and respect of their mother is a fundamental factor of their future with the person in their life.

The good partner

We all have different criteria for what makes a good partner and for some a traditional marriage means that a wife has her duties and role clearly defined.

While the marriage is built on respect and love, having a wife who is respectful of the family’s customs and traditions is important.

Gender roles are gradually changing however as more women are entering the corporate environment and starting businesses. This means that the dated concept that a woman’s place in the home is to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen is not ideal for a lot of women.

Relationship experts for advise couple to attend premarital counselling to set the tone for how to manage conflict and reach a compromise in the marriage.

Also read: Point of View: Why it is important for you to heal first before getting into a marriage

Written by: Kayafm Digital


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