Wedding bells ring for due diligence

2010-12-18 09:54

For most black people, ­December is characterised by heightened merger and acquisition (M&A) activities – as matters matrimonial are colloquially referred to these days.

This December practice owes ­itself largely to the migrant labour system that separated black males from their families, particularly in rural areas.

Uncles, traditionally regarded as lead negotiators, were mostly only available to officiate in M&As during the holiday period when most businesses in South ­Africa took the usual break and families were afforded the opportunity to reunite.

Today, less and less significance is attached to the essence of African matrimony, as the traditional role of uncles is usurped by tenderpreneurs and rented celebrity ­lobola intermediaries.

Whereas traditional business M&As provide for the acquiring firm to demand a due diligence exercise, this concept is foreign to the African way of life – even Juju will attest to this.

For the uninitiated?– excuse the pun if you are a Xhosa initiate?– the online Oxford dictionary defines a due diligence as a due process of investigation, performed by investors, into the details of a potential investment.

It is just a matter of time before ­modern-day verligte (enlightened) South Africa dictates that grooms be equally, and rightly so, subjected to scrutiny by the bridal family, something our traditionally patriarchal community system would frown upon.

It was while chatting with a friend over some Scotch that we got carried away wondering what areas of examination would make for a successful matrimonial due diligence.

With the changing economic clime, what with some women now bringing home more bacon than their Romeos, we both agreed that due diligences were relevant – especially given the perversely bloated male ego with a tendency to exaggerate self-worth.

A female companion insisted that such due diligence should ­include a tax clearance certificate, police clearance, medical assessment – with particular ­emphasis on HIV status – and a business plan accompanied by a financial and mental wellbeing report.

We concurred how foolhardy it would be to pour scorn on the ­significance of a matrimonial due diligence as it was often too late when material facts were verified after the fact.

At this stage, and with Percy Sledge’s Take Time To Know Her serenading us, we could not help but reminisce about his oft-forgotten advice.

To which we all simultaneously cheered: happy and prosperous M&As to those bold and crazy enough to say “I do”!

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