Nubian Wedding in Kibera - Kibera Stories

Over a century ago, the Nubians came to Kenya from Sudan to fight for the British in the Second World War. While returning from their service, Nubian soldiers were allocated plots of land in a forested area which they called Kibra, a Nubian word which means forest.

There are over 1, 000 Nubians living in Kibera, they are a few of the Kenyan communities who have preserved and maintained their cultures and traditions; from wearing turbash for men and gurbaba for women, cooking kisira and bamia, applying the henna art, among many others are some of the commonly practised Nubian traditions.

The Nubian wedding starts at the mosque where the groom is accompanied by friends and relatives. A sheikh presides over the marriage after which the groom ties the knot – this is called Nikah, in Islamic wedding.

After tying the knot the groom is escorted to meet the bride for the first time after Nikah, here women carrying colourful umbrellas in their traditional Nubian attires sing and dance along the streets.

Once they’ve reached the bride’s place, the groom together with the elder family members are required to enter the house. The bride is covered in a veil and the groom will open to confirm if she’s the one or not. If she’s the one then wedding rings are exchanged between them amidst cheers from the friends and relatives.

The climax of the day starts in the evening, this is an event called ‘Doluka’, where invited guests, friends and relatives would dance the whole night, in celebration of a new beginning for the newlyweds.