Can I have your daugh­ter?

Finweek English Edition - - NEWS -

WHAT IS LOBOLA?

Lobola refers to a trans­ac­tion that takes place when a young cou­ple de­cides to marry. The suitor sends rep­re­sen­ta­tives of his fam­ily to ne­go­ti­ate with the fam­ily of his would-be bride. The groom’s fam­ily is ex­pected to hon­our the fam­ily of the bride by pay­ing an agreed-upon amount, tra­di­tion­ally paid in cat­tle.

THE TRA­DI­TION

Ac­cord­ing to the Um­samo African In­sti­tute, lobola was a way for a fa­ther to en­sure that the fam­ily his daugh­ter is mar­ry­ing into would be able to pro­vide for her. Wealth was mea­sured in the cat­tle each fam­ily owned. The ac­cep­tance of lobola is also a way to show the an­ces­tors that the fam­ily’s kraal (rep­re­sent­ing wealth) is grow­ing and that their house is strong.

A MOD­ERN TAKE

Th­ese days lobola is no longer paid in cows, but in cash. Even so, many of the older tra­di­tions are still ob­served. Prof V.V.O Mkhize, founder of the Um­samo African In­sti­tute, ex­plains it as fol­lows: The f irst per­son who knows that

abakhongi (rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the groom’s fam­ily) are com­ing, is the mother of the prop­spec­tive bride. Usu­ally the groom’s fam­ily sends a let­ter to the fam­ily of the bride an­nounc­ing their in­ten­tion to ne­go­ti­ate lobola on a cer­tain date. On the day of the ne­go­ti­a­tions, the groom’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives will ar­rive at the gate of the bride’s fam­ily early in the morn­ing. They will ex­press their de­sire

FROM LEFT: Jerry Mo­fo­keng, Zethu Dlomo, Inkomo the cow, Ed­uan van Jaarsveldt and Marga van Rooy star in Fanie Fourie’s Lobola

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