Home, Traditional Weddings, Wedding Planning

A Stunning Lobola/Mahadi Celebration


Hey Precious Ones
How is the new year treating you? Any new year resolutions/goals? Whether you have them or not I hope you’ll have a good year. Make every second of life count. The hardest lesson of 2018 for me was that life is too short. We hear this phrase often and it never really sinks in until you lose someone. So please live people. Tomorrow isn’t promised. I will spill all in the next post but for now, enjoy this gorgeous lobola/mahadi celebration.

From the moment I saw this lobola/mahadi celebration, I though wowie, Bontle must track down this couple and have them grace our pages. Keketso the bride writes so eloquently. I could easily read this forever.

The Love Story

We met at a YALI SA leadership seminar in 2016 held as a weekend retreat at De Hoek Country Lodge in Magaliesburg. He was based in Capetown at the time and me in Joburg. After 4 days of challenging and inspiring interactions with a group of impressive young leaders in that picturesque setting, I believe the scene was set for a meaningful connection. One evening at the end of the weekend we found ourselves huddled in a corner of a room full of people sharing insights and stories in a conversation that was then continued via texts and calls for weeks to follow. Our relationship was long distance for the first 6 months with visits every 3 weeks. He subsequently moved to Joburg ‘for work’.

The Propose

There wasn’t one grand knee drop western style proposal as he had to respect cultural processes. He informed me that my parents would receive a call from Lesotho (His country of birth) but wouldn’t say about what. I started suspecting then what it could mean. A week later after the call was made one lazy morning while in our pyjamas he presented me with a scroll of a handwritten poem called “Time” which ended with him asking me to marry him. Because we hadn’t looked at rings before, he gave me a necklace with a pendant of my birthstone. Needless to say, there were lots of tears… Bontle: awwwwwww how romantic


It was an interesting process that reminded the feminist in me of the patriarchal nature of our culture. His father came to my parents’ home in Johannesburg from Lesotho with a friend to ask for “mohope oa metsi”. This basically was them stating their intention to marry. They then returned with a delegation of other elders including some matriarchs in June for negotiations. I’d hoped it would be a friendly chat culminating in a small symbolic amount negotiated but it only takes that one uncle who really had no hand in raising you to play hard ball and change the game. Ultimately an agreement was reached and the amount was transferred via EFT (times are a changing). Bontle Bride Haha! The future is here!

My family then celebrated the completion of the mahali and welcomed their groom at a home celebration in October.

The Planning Process

I actually enjoyed the planning process as I’d basically always known what kind of celebration I wanted.  I also have an awesome group of helpful friends with useful connections.

Something that I didn’t find easy but had to learn to do was to consider and include my partners’ opinions and likes into everything.  

I found social media very useful during the planning and spend some time looking at pages of wedding planners and designers. I used to do this anyway as I love weddings.

The Community

There was involvement of extended family with the mahali celebration. Relatives brought scones, others made gemere but mostly they offered their hands with preparations of which there weren’t much as we’d used a caterer.    

Marriage is such a big deal, at what point did you know you were ready?

I wasn’t a very young bride, being over 30, so I think in terms of maturity and life goals I was ready. I knew I was ready to be married to this man probably within 2 months of us being together. I just knew in my heart that he was sent by God.

Tell us about your suppliers, how did you find them? Often times people complain about black businesses and the lack of professionalism. Would you say your suppliers delivered as promised?

I believe we as black people can do everything so I wasn’t concerned about finding suppliers especially as this was a traditional celebration. There were some disappointments but this was still at the screening phase and I just didn’t work with those.


Custom made by Rich Factory. I fell in love with Rina’s dresses on Instagram. Bontle Bride: We love Rich Factory too. Her eye for materials and colour is amazing. We had one meeting to discuss the design and from then on everything was smooth. With just 2 dress fitting they made me a dress that surpassed my dreams.

Make up:

Phumele Motsweni. We met a few years ago at a well-known makeup shop and I asked her to do my sisters’ matric dance make up. She was so brilliant I told her then that the day I get married she would be the one to bless my face. She rose to the occasion.

Tents: Tent and couch

Décor: My friends and I did the décor ourselves with the help of hired traditional table runners and napkins from Busi of AWEdding day. She also helped with contacts of other suppliers who hire out décor pieces for traditional celebrations.  I quite struggled with finding companies that are willing to rent out equipment as opposed to them doing the décor for you.

Cake:  Neo of SugarFoot Dessserts and Cakes was recommended by my sister in law. Her cakes are absolutely delicious.

Photographer: Student Photography. I found them on Facebook and their prices are reasonable because they use photographers in training.

Did you learn any lessons through your wedding journey? If so can you tell us of 3 lessons you’ve taken away based on your experience…

I learned a lot through this journey. I grew as a person and so did our relationship.

  1. Honest open communication with my partner became very important. The me that would keep things in and try to resolve them by herself could no longer exist. Things were much easier once I learned to always let him know what was sitting in my heart..good or bad.
  2. For some reason, weddings are very stressful on the couple’s family. Even if they have absolutely no involvement in the planning, financial or otherwise. I believe that it is because of how much they love you and the impending change/loss (perspective) that is about to occur. Your parents and siblings may say and do things out of character that may hurt, stress or just surprise you. Take a moment before reacting and be ready to be accommodating and forgiving.
  3. There is no such thing as the perfect celebration. Once I realized this I was less tense and focused more on how to make the day special for us.


Would you do it again?

I would absolutely do it again. What is better than a celebration of love?


What would you say to couples planning their wedding at the moment?

1. There is life after these celebrations, so don’t spend all your money and do not go into debt. Decide in the beginning for each of you what the most important things are that you’re willing to spend on (for me it was décor) and then be more flexible and prudent on the rest. Set a budget based on your affordability and try by all means to stick to it.

  1. At the end of the day, all you’re doing is planning a big party for your family and friends. This is not more important than your relationship with your partner and your marriage. You need to remember this when things get tense over which photographer to choose or how much money to spend. None of it matters if you guys are not ok, so be sure to take care of each other and take breaks from the planning.
  2. Decide what your sacred moments will be on the day and make a decision to be fully conscious in those moments as it goes by so quickly.

A big thank you to Koketso and her husband for sharing their wedding with us. Loved it!

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About Author

Hi! I'm Ika. Thank you for visiting Bontle Bride, a gorgeous space where I share exquisite weddings with a flava of culture.

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