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Shocking Lobola Revelations


It seems as if in this generation Lobola is an ancient thing. For those of you who don’t know what Lobala is, let me break it down. It is a bride’s price or dowry. It’s usually given to the bride’s family by the groom to be. Lobala proceedings differ depending on your culture but in South Africa elders from the groom’s family will usually send a letter of intent to the bride’s family.

There is this misconception that Lobola is just about cows and money. It is so much more than that. It is a sign of honor, respect, love, acceptance and a celebration of two families becoming one. Money has little part to do with it.

I was shocked to discover an app that allows you to calculate exactly how much a woman would be worth in terms of lobola. I’m not sure why the owner of that app created it. Maybe he thought it would be a bit of fun but I see it completely different. To be honest I’m offended by it. It breaks my heart to see people ridicule our beliefs.
LOBOLAA couple of years ago I had a chat with a friend who did not pay Lobola. I understand it was not his fiancee’s  culture and it is something that is not accepted in her culture. That’s fine. But he made my blood boil by suggesting I was Mr K’s property because he bought me(can you believe his ignorance).He is an African man, born and raised in Africa and Lobala is a big part of his culture, and for him to make statements like that is beyond me.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not against inter- faiths marriages. In-fact I have featured all sorts of weddings and will continue to but I just wanted to address this Lobola thing. Mr K gave my family Lobola and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just because some misunderstand it; it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. You might disagree but that’s okay. I happen to think it’s a beautiful thing and should be celebrated instead of being mocked.

What do you think of Lobala? Is it just an old useless traditions that we should be done with, I personally think we shouldn’t but I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment in the box below.

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Photo Credit: GenerationsSA

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

(8) Comments

  1. […] Congratulations on your engagement. Lobola is such a beautiful thing. In the age where it seems like traditions are being replaced by modern things, I’m glad you and your partner chose to do it this way. You can call me old school or an old soul but I wholeheartedly believe in Lobola. I wrote my thoughts about it a while back here. […]

  2. […] Planning Tips and Advice Shocking Wedding Costs How to have a debt free wedding Shocking lobola revelations […]

  3. Greg says:

    My spouse and I spent a long time debating and discovering how we could respect this tradition that has so much desirable and loving sentiments to offer. The difficulty, I think, comes from the fact that, as with any tradition, ‘what’ it is, is not clearly defined, but it is simply a culmination of many, at time even contradictory, understandings and interpretation. Lobola, is, therefore, both about buying a bride and making her the property of either the husband or his family, it is also a way of showing that the man will provide (which is equally outdated to me), it is about bringing two families together, it is about publicly communicating love. It is all of that.
    As part of working out how we wanted to celebrate lobola (it is culturally foreign to me and my spouse did not care for the gender-issues, but her family insisted), we read news articles, blogs, academic papers – the diversity of what people consider this practice to me, made one thing clear to us: don’t just do it because ‘it is tradition’, but think about what you think it is, what your families think it is, and then do it because ‘this tradition captures and symbolises XYZ’ – XYZ can be a view about the role of women in the household, it can be family relations, etc.
    In the end,discussing this at length with her parents, for us, esp. because we married across culture, lobola symbolised shared family values and responsibilities. It was about how culture can express deeply shared values, even if in very different ceremonies and traditions, I guess marriage itself is much like that – so many marriage traditions, but there is something universal about it and all across the world people understand what it means when I say ‘I am married’
    I did not pay for my bride, but I presented a gift – 5 bars of precious metal, each engraved with the cornerstones of family values in our respective mother tongues (children, respect, gratitude, generosity, and trust). Accepting this gift is more than accepting money to us, because they accept these values and accept to be held by them – and more than money, it also shows that we will be taken of by each other an our families. And we loved the idea that some great grand-child will find one of these bars of silver in their uncles house and someone will be able to tell them about what our families shared…

    I don’t think what we captured the essence of lobola, because I don’t think there is an essence. But we captured our relationship and families, doing so by respecting (not just through practice, but also through asking and talking about it) and practicing a wonderful tradition.

    1. Ika says:

      Greg Thank you for your comment.The gift you presented is beautiful and has sentimental value for you and your family.

      You make valid points but I have to stress that if one doesn’t believe in the sentiment of lobola then they don’t have to do it. My problem is how I see many people ridicule lobola as if it’s something filthy or degrading. The only reason families choose to give (NOT PAY) money instead of livestock is the fact that not everyone has fields or indeed is willing to herd cattle.

  4. yaya says:

    I personaly respect the whole lobola thing as it shows the man can and will take care of his family,how ever i think nower days its the parent that kills everything buy asking for millions for their daughters and the poor man doesnt even finish to pay that ammount ,,i think that takes out the value of lobola,

    1. Ika says:

      Yaya, Thank you for your comment.However I think everyone’s situation is different. Yes there are parents who will use lobalo as a way to get rich but most parents are reasonable. They value their traditional values more than anything and to them money plays a very small role in it.

  5. Ok, the featured Image caught my eyes… So colorful & full of culture. I didn’t think reading a post that will be a little different.
    I think most Africans are now living in ignorance. We are really filled with westernization and we ignore our roots thinking it’s some sort of old fashioned thing. this is js sad.
    But really? some dowry calculation App?Apart from culture issues I don’t think it’s respect to the bride and her parents.

    1. Ika says:

      Yea, the featured image is beautiful, stay tuned, I’ll be featuring more traditional weddings soon. Thanks awfully for your contributions

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