Do women still want lobola?

2017-02-19 06:00
Olivia Ngobeni

Olivia Ngobeni

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

Mhakamuni Olivia Ngobeni, a 26-year-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.”

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