I practised ukuthwala and ‘we are happily married’

2014-12-04 15:08

A man who practised ukuthwala many years ago is still happily married, a briefing by the Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Cultural, Religious, and Linguistic Communities has heard.

Nkosi Sipho Mahlangu, from the National House of Traditional Leaders, said both he and his wife were in their 20s and graduates when they agreed they would enter into the process.

“I couldn’t afford lobola at the time,” Mahlangu told the commission briefing in Johannesburg, during the release of its latest report on ukuthwala.

Mahlangu said his wife’s family had wanted 20 cows for her hand in marriage.

“I fetched her with my friends on a Tuesday. A traditional ceremony was done on Wednesday by my family,” he said.

“It was only my family. No one from her family was there.”

After the ceremony, her family was informed that she was married. That Friday, her in-laws took her back to her family and lobola negotiations started.

“My parents went ahead of us and told her family we only have 10 cows,” he said.

The marriage could no longer be stopped because she was already considered a Mahlangu bride.

Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva earlier explained that ukuthwala occurred between two consenting adults involved in a relationship who faced difficulty being together because of collapsed lobola negotiations between their families.

The couple would agree on staging the woman’s abduction, contact her family and inform them of her whereabouts, and call for the negotiations to continue.

Mahlangu said he was the product of an arranged marriage.

“I never noticed anything wrong. I never noticed there was no love between them,” he said.

“If done correctly, one can have a good marriage,” he said.

He agreed with the commission’s view that ukuthwala was a good traditional practice between two consenting adults and that it needed to be preserved and protected.

“But where there’s a criminal act, people should be arrested,” said Mahlangu.

He was father to a 13-year-old girl who he believed was in no way ready for marriage.

The commission said men who abducted young girls and married them were paedophiles who tarnished ukuthwala and needed to be arrested.

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