Do women still want lobola?

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City Press ran­domly asked young South Africans whether lobola – bride price or bride worth – still has rel­e­vance in their lives.

Mhaka­muni Olivia Ngob­eni, a 26year-old stu­dent from Le­bowak­gomo in Lim­popo, said: “Lobola is no longer im­por­tant to me ... Things have changed. [My hand in mar­riage] can just be re­quested from my fam­ily by my fu­ture hus­band, with­out him hav­ing to pay lobola. We can still have a great life.”

Ngob­eni added that there was no point in pay­ing lobola for “some­one you love”.

How­ever, her mother, Vir­ginia, said lobola must be paid.

“I will not al­low her [to just walk away with her hus­band-to-be], be­cause our cul­ture does not al­low us women to go to the hus­band’s fam­ily with­out them pay­ing for umakoti [the bride].

“As black peo­ple, we be­lieve that a man should con­tinue pay­ing lobola to ask for a woman’s hand in mar­riage. My chil­dren will not go with­out their suit­ors pay­ing. It is a must,” she said.

Kho­motjo Pha­l­adi, a 31-year-old stu­dent from Seleteng vil­lage in Ga-Mphahlele, also in Lim­popo, said: “I think lobola must be paid be­cause it is our tra­di­tion and we should not shy away from it. Each racial group has its own tra­di­tion when it comes to mar­riage. Ours, as Africans, is to pay lobola. “When the el­ders say a lady or guy has been for­mally ac­cepted into the other fam­ily, that should be be­cause there have been ne­go­ti­a­tions in­volv­ing both fam­i­lies be­fore a lady joins an­other fam­ily and is called umakoti. “Not do­ing this in a proper way puts a strain on both fam­i­lies. “My point is, lobola must be paid to keep our tra­di­tion alive, so we stop imi­tat­ing and pro­mot­ing Western tra­di­tions,” said Pha­l­adi. Pretty Mailula, a 26-year-old stu­dent from Polok­wane, said: “I think it does not mat­ter any more, as many peo­ple have is­sues af­ter mar­ry­ing each other and are no longer in­ter­ested in pay­ing lobola. The rea­son for this is that re­la­tion­ships these days no longer last,” she said. “An­other con­cern I have about lobola is the many ar­ti­cles I have read about peo­ple de­mand­ing their lobola money back. I see no im­por­tance in this tra­di­tion any more. But it is still im­por­tant to my par­ents.”

IT IS A MUST Kho­motjo Pha­l­adi

NOT FOR ME Olivia Ngob­eni

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