The social cocktail: weddings and the innovative mixing of competences in Botswana

TitleThe social cocktail: weddings and the innovative mixing of competences in Botswana
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsR.A. van Dijk
EditorJ.B. Gewald, A.H.M. Leliveld, and I. PeŇ°a
Secondary TitleTransforming innovations in Africa: explorative studies on appropriation in African societies
Series titleAfrican Dynamics ; 11
Pagination191 - 207
Date Published2012///
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsBotswana, marriage rites, social change

Weddings in Botswana are increasingly being marked by emerging complexities for a younger generation in the way these events draw upon different social, cultural, economic, legal and moral sources and resources. Since this complexity represents a new mixture of sources that are local and global, traditional and modern, and part of a civil system as well as part of the rising consumerist style, the people involved require a new set of skills and competences to ensure their wedding is a success. With weddings emerging as a new social cocktail, it is difficult to identify whether the elements are traditional by origin, have been adapted from elsewhere or are entirely new innovations. This contribution argues that much of the transformative innovation is located in the rise of these skills and competences. It identifies four interlocking domains that are part of the organization and styling of weddings for which an innovation in the personalized skills and competences of couples has become crucial. Although rituals are always adaptive to changing social environments, the rise of these new skills and competences is not merely adaptive but changes social, gender, economic and age-related structures as is manifest in these weddings.

Citation Key6315