November 10th, 2012
Shopping, hanging out with bosisi bami (host sisters) and Swazi friends, and a Benjamin Dube concert, equaled a very holy weekend. I have officially been healed and probably been saved.
A Swazi girlfriend of mine talked me into spending the weekend in town with her and four of my host sisters. The great South African gospel singer Benjamin Dube was holding a once in a lifetime Healing concert in Manzini and we had VIP tickets. I was very skeptical that this weekend would be fun. I had to surrender my days to the plans of my friends and sisters and that I had never done before. I had no idea was to expect and I didn’t have the refugee of my hut to escape if everything became too much to handle. However, I sucked it up and went. Surprise… it was such a good time!!!
The weekend started with coffee with Addy (who I haven’t seen in a month, since she was on leave in America) and my Swazi friend Nosipho. Then Nosipho and I took over the town. We spent hours window shopping and having dressing room fashion shows to find the perfect outfits for the concert that night. Then it was off to my host sister’s salon for nails and hair. Then to my host sister’s apartment to get all dolled up. I had on my new skinny jeans (thank you P90X, the last two months of grueling workouts was totally worth it) and a shiny new top that Nosipho insisted I needed to wear to stand out. I was the only white person at the event, so I thought I already had that covered but no I needed to sparkle.
I’m not really into the huge gospel scene here, but the concert was actually a lot of fun. The who’s who of Manzini was represented (I sat 10 rows behind a Swazi Prince), and they were sporting their most fashionable outfits. I was thankful at that moment for the new clothes I was wearing as my wardrobe is defiantly showing battered signs of rural living. Benjamin Dube is apparently a really big deal and I soon realized that people didn’t really come to the concert to listen as much as they came to form a gigantic church choir. His band consisted of two guitarist, a drummer, three keyboardists, a saxophone player, and nine back-up singers. His songs are full of praise and energy. The whole crowd was on their feet dancing the night away. I even got swept up in the rhythm and was dancing. His gig is a family act. If South Africa had a Branson MO, the Dube family would be headliners. Benjamin’s Mother came onstage and sang a song (actually my favorite song of the night), and his three sons also performed. Appropriately named The Dube Brothers, these boys are the African, gospel version of The Jonas Brothers and the crowd just about died when they came onstage.
The concert ended well after midnight so I spent the night at my sisi’s apartment and then went to church with them on Sunday. Social crowds defiantly develop around churches here. Four of my host sisters and all their friends all go to the same church in Manzini and now I am officially in their crowd. Church was three hours long, and it was really hot inside the cinder block building, but the service was full of energetic singing so I managed to stay awake after the short night.
|My friend Nosipho and I|
|My Bosisi (host sisters) and I|
LtoR: Lungile, Zandile, Winnile, and Tengetile(Me)
|The Dube Brothers|
Overall the weekend totally exceeded my expectations. I increased my social circle, I discovered the social gospel scene in Manzini, and I had much needed modern girly time. For PCVs in Africa, a social nightlife basically does not exist. You get used to going to bed at 8:30pm because there is A. nothing to do, and B. the few after dark social options are not safe. However, when the very rare occasion comes around where you get to get dressed up and go out after dark and have fun, you realize just how great it is. I can’t wait to regain my social life in America.