Snapshots of a Wedding (short story) – Bessie Head

Weirdly enough, I haven’t read a short story since high school and had not seen any value in reading them, as is often said, we learn something new each day and my something new was a change in how I felt about short stories.

Bessie Head’s Snapshots of a Wedding was published as far back as 1977 in her short story collection, The Collector of Treasures and Other Botswana Village Tales. But I read this story in the popular collection Cross Currents: An Anthology of Short Stories.

Educated as he was, Kegoletile seemed to go through a secret conflict during that year he prepared a yard for his future married life with Neo. He spent most of his free time in the yard of Mathata.
She was a pretty girl with black eyes like stars; she was always smiling and happy; immediately and always her own natural self. He knew what he was marrying – something quite the opposite, a new kind of girl with false postures and acquired, grand-madame ways. And yet, it didn’t pay a man these days to look too closely into his heart.

Kegotile and Neo are getting married and though they are both highly educated, they opt to do things the traditional way. The groom’s aunts are ready, so are the bride’s – though they seem to be too eager to get rid of the bride.
The groom, Kegotile, has impregnated two women – Neo and Mathata. One educated and the other a typical village woman and both with very different values on the role of a woman in a man’s life. Kegotile has chosen to marry the educated Neo, it will ensure they reach ‘rich’ status sooner –with two incomes coming in.

Neo is arrogant and thinks she is above everyone else in the village. Still with her education, tradition is still important and as with every bride, the advice her maternal aunts give her is to be a good wife.

-Phumzile Z

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