“Gogo, look up at the sky, it is raining and sunny at the same time. Wow.” said little Rebecca.

“Umshado wezinkawu, today is a monkey’s wedding, that’s what we call it in isiZulu. But the weather man calls it a shower rain, where the sun meets with the rain and forms a shower rain,” Gogo said.

The little girl’s hazelnut eyes popped like corn as she listened carefully to her Gogo.

“Gogo, please tell me more about umshado wezinkawu, I love weddings. But I have never ever seen a monkey getting married,” the little girl laughed.

“I will tell you more on our way back home. First we need to buy some bananas then the monkeys will invite us to their wedding.”

“Let us hurry up,” little Rebecca said.

They got to the High Point grocery shop and bought five bananas, sat under a big tree and began to eat the bananas.

Oo aa oo aa oo aa.

“Can you hear the monkeys sing?” her Gogo asked.

The monkeys of the Spider tribe sang: “Today the princess is getting married to the price oo aa oo aa oo aa!” The spider monkeys cheerfully sang.

“Wait Gogo, why are they called spider monkeys? Do they have eight legs?” Rebecca asked.

Her Gogo laughed saying, “No it is because they have long arms, legs and tails.”

“Go on Gogo, tell me more about this wedding.”

The monkeys of the Spider tribe threw bananas as the princess entered. She looked beautiful. She was decorated with yellow sunflowers, like a beautiful flower crown on her head. Her dad, the king, walked her down the sandy aisle and handed her over to the prince. The prince hit against his chest as he saw his beautiful bride.

The monkey priest began the wedding ceremony.

“Do you, Prince? Take the princess to be your wife in sickness or in health, whether bananas are there or not? If so then say, ‘Monkey do,’” the priest said.

“Monkey do,” the prince said.

“Do you Princess take the price to be your husband in sickness in health, whether bananas are there or not? If not the say, “Monkey do’.”

“Monkey do,” the princess said.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss your bride,” the priest said.

As the prince kissed his bride, all the spider monkeys began to hit against their chest. The dancers swung from tree to tree. The other spider monkeys threw banana peels in the air.

“What a celebration.” her Gogo said.

The little girl laughed, “What a strange wedding Gogo.”

The little then girl saw a rainbow in the sky.

“Gogo look up at the sky!” she screamed.

“The rainbow is a sign that the wedding celebration is over.” her Gogo said. “Look at the beautiful colours Rebecca. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet seven beautiful colours.”

“Gogo, how will I remember all these seven beautiful colours?” little Rebecca asked.

“That’s simple my child. When I was a little girl like you, my dad taught me this song to help me remember the seven colours. It goes like this… Read only your geography book in vacation. The first letter of each word represents a colour. Remember that,” her Gogo said. “Sing with Me Rebecca.”

They sang “Read only your geography book in vacation” as they walked home.

The next day at school Rebecca told her all her friends that she went to a wedding.

“That is strange Rebecca, we did not hear any announcements at the village square.”

“No, not just any wedding a wedding that only takes place when the sun and the rain meet and form a shower rain. Umshado wezinkawu,” Rebecca said.

Her friends laughed, “You are lying Rebecca. Why should we believe you? Prove to us that you were there,” one of her friends said.

“I will today,” Rebecca shouted.

But how was she going to prove to her friends that she went to the wedding? The bell rang and they all rushed back to the class. In class Ma’am Khumalo greeted the class.

“Today we are going to learn about rainbows,” Ma’am Khumalo said. “Does anyone in class know all the seven colours?”

“Yes!” Rebecca shouted as she jumped out of her chair.

The class roared with laughter when she fell but got up again.

“Silence!” Ma’am Khumalo shouted. “Let us give Rebecca a chance.”

Rebecca sang “read only your geography books in vacation”, which represented red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

“Class, clap hands for Rebecca. She is correct.”

Ma’am Khumalo gave Rebecca a big star. After class all her friends asked Rebecca how she knew all the seven colours.

“I told you guys that I went to a monkey’s wedding, umshado wezinkawu. Only those who attended would know all the seven colours of the rainbow.”

“Sorry we didn’t believe you,” her friends said.


Tell us: Do you have a special way to remember the rainbow colours? What is it?