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Navigating In-Law Relationships During the Holidays: Tips for the New Makoti

Published December 24, 2023
7 months ago

The holiday season is often a time of joy, celebration, and familial bonding. For new makotis, or daughters-in-law, in South Africa, the occasion of spending the holidays with the in-laws for the first time can be particularly intimidating. To alleviate the anxiety that accompanies these visits and to help makotis prepare, author Phindile Mbonane Ndebele has penned a guidebook teeming with wisdom and practical advice.

Phindile's book, aptly titled "Makoti," provides an array of traditional recipes designed to endear any new makoti to her in-laws. More than a cookbook, it is a compendium of savvy tips and cultural insights intended to help women feel at home in potentially unfamiliar surroundings.

One of the key suggestions made by Phindile is for women to equip themselves adequately. She recommends packing personal linens and spices, not as a slight to the in-laws, but rather to ensure comfort and convenience, particularly in remote areas where trips to the market may not be a simple task. It is about finding a balance between respect for the host's home and assurance of personal well-being.

Skin issues and comfort are common concerns, hence the advice to bring your own linen is not only thoughtful but practical. When it comes to culinary duties, having your own spices can be the difference between a satisfactory meal and a memorable one.

Confidence, according to Phindile, is the key accessory. By being authentic and considerate, new makotis can forge strong bonds with their in-laws. The fear of misjudgment is common, but with the right attitude, this fear can be overcome.

Co-host of Mzansi Magic’s reality show about in-laws, Puleng March, extends the advice into the spiritual realm by emphasizing the importance of prayer in cultivating a harmonious relationship with in-laws. Puleng suggests that adapting to family expectations, such as waking up early, can go a long way in creating peace.

However, the real relationship litmus test often lies with winning over the mother-in-law. Puleng advises doing diligent research about the mother-in-law's preferences and engaging her in conversations that display a genuine interest in learning from her. Treating her to new experiences and offering unexpected kindnesses can turn the tide in a makoti's favor.

This indispensable guide is about more than mere survival; it's a playbook for thriving in the intricate dynamics of a new family during the holidays. As a makoti, you're not just navigating personal relationships but also anchoring yourself within rich, cultural traditions. The insights provided by experts like Phindile and Puleng offer the underpinning for not only a pleasant holiday experience but also the foundation for long-term familial harmony.

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