Lobola (dowry, or the bride price) abuse must fall!
There was a time when cattle were African form of currency, and every family had some cattle. Back in those days lobola of +/- 8 cows depending on the culture was very affordable, even by the poorest of the poor. Then came colonisation and other oppressive systems, and our cattle were stolen from us, leaving us with little or no life stock at all.
However, at the same time the African discovered money, and the importance of it. The African, ignoring what has happened to the African cattle economic still insists that lobola (dowry, or the bride price) must be on the same currency as it was when the African economic of life stock was booming. Suddenly, marriage, which even the poorest of the poor could afford, became unfordable to the average young man, unless he gets into debts to get married. To make things worse, western form of greed and materialism entered into the lobola business. Now, out of this western form of greed, we are now told that the value of a woman is the price of her lobola.
African marriages, which were mostly, arranged marriages, where not about selling the young woman, but they were about forming a bond and a relationship between two families. It is unfortunate that even some young women, who suffer from short sightedness (myopia), feel that if their lobola is very low, it means their families view them cheaply.
The fact of the matter is there is no correlation between a high lobola and marital success. However, there is scientific proof that shows correlation between financial challenges (indebtedness of the family) and high divorce rate. Africa arise, and go back to putting more value on family bonds than on cheap and destructive financial gain.
Traditionally, lobola served two purposes. Firstly, it was gift, a sign of gratitude to the family that raised the young woman. Secondly, it was a way for the young man to prove that he will be able to provide for the young woman. Today it has become a business transaction. People are trying to profit out of selling their daughters. We are told such stories like, the girl has studied at Wits University; she has a Master’s degree, and other kinds of nonsense. By the way, the young man might also have similar academic qualifications. Moreover, it is marriage, not employment, the CV that matters should be the character of the person.
I am glad I got married 21 years ago; the kinds of lobola prices that I hear today are scary. People asking for R100, 000.00 +, that’s ridiculous. It is abuse of a cultural tradition. As a result, many young men get into debts into to pay lobola, and other choose to just cohabit, to do “vat and sit”, or to “Egyptianise” as they use to call it, which is free .
Now, if the young man is going to marry my daughter. If he is God fearing, he loves the Lord and is committed to serving Him. Why should I complicate his life by getting him into debts for him to be my son (in-law). Why would I like my daughter to suffer when her husband is busy paying the debt that he made to give money to me money (I don’t need). If there are people who need money are the two of them, they are starting out in life, they need all the financial support they need.
For me, if the young man is good, and I have done my thorough assessment on him, and I am happy, I can say to him, just give me R5000.00. But if he is not only good according to my assessment, he is also a preacher and he has conducted evangelistic campaigns and won souls, even R1,000.00 is okay.
I mean, if he has read all the books I have written on marriage and he can answer my marital questions satisfactory, then I can say to him: “young man, I don’t need your money, go and spend it on my daughter, but for tradition sake, just e-wallet me R500.00, that’s it, you are married!”.
Lobola Abuse Must Fall!!!
MJM Ravhengani @ Living Power Ministry