Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Tafi Mhaka: Is lobola outdated?

By Tafi Mhaka

Tendai is deep in love with Bongi and happily embedded in a long-term relationship. He has a superb job in the marketing department of a radio station in Bulawayo and drives a neat car and dresses well.

It is what it is: he is a man on the up and up and Bongi has raised the idea of them getting married in the near future. Should he want to make a lifetime commitment to Bongi, the fun-loving and beautiful woman he loves profoundly, he must marry her.

Should he want to have her hand in marriage, he has to pay lobola first. Tendai has his apprehensions though: he does not want to pay lobola at all. He does not buy into the idea of paying lobola for Bongi, because he believes a woman should not be sold off.

But should he be forced to pay for a lifetime of love and warmth and happiness, he is keen to pay an amount of money that could be described as chickenfeed in some households: he plans on paying less than US$200 in cash for his future wife and not a dollar more.

Bongi, who has a fair idea of the amount of money her elders might want Tendai to pay as lobola, remains adamant that he must pay lobola for her, and has said that her lobola payment will likely be in the region of US$6000.

Tendai is hardly 27-years-old. Like his peers, he has big plans for the future. He completed his studies at NUST not long ago and wants an excellent start in life. He wants to start working towards establishing a comfortable home for his family.

Would paying five thousand dollars for the right to marry Bongi be the perfect start for him in life? He feels it would be disastrous for his finances and confidence. Should he make a firm commitment to pay five thousand dollars as lobola, his measly savings will not suffice.

So he would have to borrow money from family and friends – or secure a high-interest loan from a financial institution. This type of debt will set him back for a number of years and make it harder for him to achieve his lifetime goals.

He has other fears, as well: what would happen if Bongi left him for another man after one year of marriage? Would her father return the money he had paid as lobola? He doubts it.  So Tendai would have a lot of heartbreak and debt management concerns to deal with almost simultaneously if the much discussed marriage were to fail.

That is the way it is in Zimbabwe for men who have to pay lobola. But is the tradition of paying lobola a biased system and should lobola be modified to suit the new realities of life in 2017? Could lobola be a part of a traditional and patriarchal system that should be done away with forever?

I cannot grasp why lobola should be an indisputable tradition. I acknowledge that it is important for the family of the bride to build a firm relationship with the family of the groom. Nonetheless, I simply do not appreciate how a six thousand dollar lobola payment comes into the fray.  Traditionalists claim that a man must pay lobola because the children from a marital union belong to their father. However, courts have the final say on custodial matters in this day and age.

Were the demands of lobola non-monetary and high in symbolic and traditional significance, I would support the custom wholeheartedly.  Were the demands of lobola not a form of payment for a woman, I would be a firm believer in the practice.

But the payment of lobola nationwide often results in mannish entitlement: a man will say and do certain things for he believes he has paid for the right to do so. So a man will beat and apparently discipline a woman, because the payment of lobola seems to infer that a man is the natural head of his household, and whatever he says or does, whether potentially beneficial or downright destructive for the wellbeing of the family, simply goes.

But paying lobola is not all a young man like Tendai has to worry about. Many families expect a potential son-in-law to fork out a small fortune to pay lobola and hold a white wedding as well. Is that not a lot to expect from a twenty-something still making his way up the corporate ladder? The tricky part is: many families find a way to make a white wedding a non-negotiable clause in the lobola agreement.

So many men – this includes fathers and uncles and brothers – take lobola negotiations so seriously because they see it as a potential money-spinner: a huge and rewarding payday for the big men of the house.

Lobola enthusiasts often say a man should be compensated for the wonderful work he has done raising his daughter. I believe a pat on the back or a strong handshake should do just fine honestly.

No man must be paid for raising his daughter. No man should be paid for caring for his flesh and blood.

No man should be compensated in any small or big way for sending his daughter to school or university. You should not put a price on fatherly or motherly love and support.

No man or woman should be paid for raising a girl into a fine and respectable woman. It is the normal thing to do in society. It is what responsible men and women are expected to do.

No man should get a cent for raising his baby girl: no, no, no. He should not get a single dime: raising a child is the manly thing to do.

For no man is paid for raising his boy into a man.

Why should he expect any different for raising his baby girl into a woman?

  • lobola can never be outdated in this blesser generation

  • Imbomira izvotiri panguva yekugadzira nyika ita zvawada kuvapa kana kurega!!! Next article

  • wagona kuda kuwamba zvimwe haaziwe tiri kufamba mumupata weJericho

  • @tafimhaka what’s good amigo ! Marriage is outdated period especially that white dress, cake eating,… https://t.co/1O7iIzduVo

  • Its not

  • Nhai zvekuroorana tazotaura nyika yanaka, iyezvino ngatimbochemawo nevarikuchema, hatidi DISCORD panapa

  • Shamwari everyone who fucked your lady before you did it for free and you are the only stupid person to pay for it… vhinza zvinemusoro hauoni kuti tiri musango hwenje

    • U marry for love or for sex ??? Haa wangu wakumabuda kana uchirorera nyere ingogara nehure zvee not to say YOUR lady une munhu iwe nxaa

  • Not interested about minor issues. Toroora nei nyika yakadhakwa. Lets deal with real issues first. But then again people must practice whatever they want pakuroorana. Non of anyone’s business

    • SubCommandateMarcos

      lobola being a cultural issue qualifies as a real issue because some of zimbabwes problems do stem from outdated cultural practices

  • Lol. Good article. Why should we?

    • Why should you ? is more appropriate. Coz nobody forces nobody. Rega kana usingade. This is a non issue

    • Pple are forced bro. You want to marry her and they parents demand lobola and white wedding. The girl wants diamond ring and engagement party.

  • Shingie Manyere Golide Likababakhe hona maComments. Vanhu vakatsamwa kuZimbabwe

  • Those who want to vote go and register, those who don’t want to vote fold yo arms while we see events unfolding in our motherland. Those who want to pay lobola pay, those who don’t want to pay u can beat tne pots and see whether not paying will make u more prosperous than the one who paid.

    • Hapana chataurwa apa

    • Ataura, asi zvinoda kudzamisa pfungwa kuti munhu azvinzwisise.

    • And those who want to sell their daughters and sisters likes we still in slavery go ahead neh.kkk

    • Wish we cd debate lobola after deliberating way forward for Zimbabwe. At the mean time those who want to pay can pay and those who don’t want can save for yo houses. It’s a personal choice. I wl come back later.

  • Kana iripo mari why not. Madanha. Wats a fair price for wife. It does not exist. Even if anyone asks for $1 nillion bucks for my daughter haana zvaaita coz shes is priceless. Madanha aye. Its just customs. Dai vanhu vaida mari then why not hv 100 daughters with different women to sell. Our customs are just wat they are customs. Marriage is a ceremony of passage for 2 consenting adults in the presence of their parents and relatives. Its non of any intellectual’s business

    • Well said

    • Maybe its time u women campaign to pay lobola too coz u seem to think its a wonderful idea

    • And if u think madanha y not ask fo a 10 dllr bill if she is priceless. The fact tt u are asking nillion is wat meks the whole process ‘out of order’ i wll say. Aftr paying nillion shiz not a virgin, she daznt know hw to cook, she daznt like my relatives aaaaah hey wena muntu. Women shld b on tt list of price control ‘commodity’

    • Hapana chokwadi ipapaaapa zvinozivikanwa nevano charger rusambo kuti ttengesa here kana kuti tapa

    • Taura zvako Bryn Kudzai Tavaziva. They want to make it like its a sacred thing we should not question. Its a messed up system. Why put a price of 8000 on a human being when its just madanha. We need to revise the idea and see if its relevant for our current society

    • Tapiwa Decide Chikuni kudara munhu airoorwa nebadza kna chipeneti tts our original culture kwete izvi zvema thaza izvi…

    • Imi vanhu bhadharu roora makanyarara imi

  • Kgotsile

    Haa yaa, these days among Zimbabweans tine generation yemarombe chaiwo. Stop hiding behind modernity and reform arguments. Zvinongonzi handina mari, mazvinzwa here? Ingotaurai kuti hamuna mari.

    Let me give you a word of advice, kana usingakwanise roora, itosiyana nezvevakadzi kana kuroora kwacho. Kana uchichema nenyaya yeroora; things like mhuri, kutenga imba kana mota yacho haumbofa wakazvikwanisa. I can tell you that. Unopei mukadzi nevana when you cry about lobola? Muchato wacho how do you pay for that? What are you good for then?

    Why would you want to get married usina chaunokwanisa? Kumwe kufunga soo ka.

    • Mapisamombe

      Chances are that you have daughters and have been looking forward to getting something after marrying them off. But my advice is, think twice, think long term, think about your love for your daughters. My 3 daughters got married for not a single cent and I tell you, I have never seen such matrimonial happiness and family unity. My sons in law are like my biological sons. Believe me, roora/lobola is a very obsolete practice and parents should consider not engaging in it. Even those who deplored my declaration that no roora would be paid for my daughters are begining to appreciate that this lobola practice is too outdated and is doing nothing to foster the growth and bonding of families though marriage. It serves no purpose in this time and age.

      • Kgotsile

        I don’t believe you. Murume chaiye wekuAfrica anoramba roora from the old generation? Hakuna zvakadaro. Nice try. I don’t even have any daughters by the way.

        Kana vakatizira or better yet, zvimaOff layer zvakangomitiswa I would say you have no standing in this argument at all. Hauna kuramba roora, the men don’t respect you to respect you and your kids well enough to even pay the bride price.

        • Mapisamombe

          Ofcoz I knew you wouldn’t believe me, coz from your comments, one can tell you do not believe that traditions can evolve or change. Given the present day circumstances, lobola payment is nolonger of any significants or use. Women are nolonger expected to be subservient to men. When a womena gets married, it nolonger means more focus on the husband’s side, she remains your full daughter and she continues to support your family too. So marriage is nolonger “a sending off” of your daughter, it’s now exactly what it should be, “a progression in life of your daughter through the union with a spouse from a different family and hopefuly the procreation of a new generation,, the union of two families…”

          • Kgotsile

            You`re right, I don`t believe you at all. Hanzi I declared kuti no lobola will be paid, hahaha. Sure you did.

    • Muchati Bhuu

      Wave kuwanza mbanje manje

      • Kgotsile

        Ndawanza mbanje for callig a spade a spade? Hamuna mari and you’re a bunch of failures in life, stop hiding behind so-called reforms. Nobody has disputed my points yet. Mhuri yacho inodyei if you can’t even afford lobola? Hahaha

        I have met many people with calling lobola a backward tradition. Anenge asina kana chinhu zvake. Like I said, regai zvevakadzi and sort your lives out.

        • Muchati Bhuu

          I have enough in my pocket, but I still think it is a negative tradition.It only put young men at a financial disadvantage and young women at a psychological back foot.What is its purpose anyway.Is there anything positive about the practice?

          • Kgotsile

            If you had enough in your pocket waingonobhadhara wakanyarara. Also, we would not be having this conversation. Like I said, I have met your type many times. Fix your life dude, seriously.

            I will not dignify your last two questions with a response. If I have explain tradition to an adult from the same culture as mine, you’re a lost cause to begin with.

          • Respect

            @Kgotsile: The point of discussion is not to be rude to one another but to share ideas, and to respect others views even if they differ from your own. The reason why women are not emancipated in African cultures surely is partly do to with being exchanged from one man to another, father to husband. There is nothing “cultural” about how lobola is paid nowadays, there were no US dollars, or list of groceries like it’s done in this day. Poor men could marry, and offer a token, as my great grand father who gave a hoe to his father in law. Even mombe, domesticated cows 🐄 dzakauya nevarungu. I salute you Mapisamombe… you are a true hero! as for you Kgotsile, it’s time you learn to respect the views of others!!!

          • Kgotsile

            Can you point out where I was rude and where I insulted someone? Uncomfortable facts are not insults and pointing them out is not rude, I have been nothing but respectful. Wish I could say that about some people who were replying to me though.

          • Muchati Bhuu

            Uri dofo.Only a fool goes splashing his money on idiotic things.Why not use your money on more productive activities…
            e.g charity work and feed some starving kids.Culture is dynamic….any progressive society has to do away with crazy practices…wazvinzwa…funga mhani!!!

          • Wedza Chinga

            I think the debate has degenerated to insult, lets debate in a humane manner we are brothers and sister and we will always agree and disagree, lets not be like ZANU if you disagree with them you become an enemy
            . I support lobola there is nothing wrong with it. but its abuses that i find shocking when a family demand huge sums of money, in some instances they can not even raise themselves, and there should an option to pay and not to pay. As a christian God allowed this practice from Isaac to Jacob, its there in the bible if you are a christian i don’t know other religions.

          • Muchati Bhuu

            Well noted.Thanks

          • Kgotsile

            Lobola is now idiotic because hauna kurongeka? Thanks for the laugh.

            Zvekufunga izvo you`re the one who needs that. You`re clueless about your own traditions and culture apa hapana zvirikufamba futi, sorry kwazvo. My money is mine and I decide where it goes, thank you very much. Hahaha

    • Bhora Resimbi

      True its like you want to get an Engineer salary iwe usina kufunda…..lets not abuse real matters because of not understanding matters ,I agree @Kgotsile

    • David Moyo

      I’m sorry to say this but you are backward Kgotsile. Pane vana varikurambidzwa kuona vana baba vavo because havana kuroora . Is that fair ??

      • Kgotsile

        It is fair. You want to disrespect tradition, you are free to do so. Your parents are also free to not tolerate your behavior.

  • Sakavanhu vanenge vakunzi varoorana kanavadini??

  • Why do we have to discuss customs and traditions? Are we trying to dilute them because societies outside our own is what they do! I look at it as a token and an appreciation to the in laws for giving a husband one of their priceless human beings! No money can buy my daughter but that token indicates to me that someone appreciates my child! Weddings are just big parties to show the world that two people are going to be tied together in holy matrimony! We can preserve at least some of our customs and not run away from them because that’s what defines us as a people!

    • Yeah RIGHT. Coz its not costing you $US8000 . If we really wanted to preserve our culture we would stick to paying badza n a few cattle jus like in the old day. This thing of a herd of 20 cattle accompanied by US$8000 is messed up. On top of that there is engagement party and parents demand white wedding. Why mix again and add the white wedding if its about culture. Lobola must be abolished

    • I totally agree with you Dadi 100%!

    • Dadi if u think lobola is a wonderful idea then offer to pay it too.U support it knowing full well that when it comes to paying it you do not fork out a cent.Its a burden u do not bear

    • So woman don’t appreciate their man?

    • but,nezvavakuitika mazuano,,,its a pit,paying all such,things for lobola,then,someone,just come and takes your wife for free,,,,,regai vanhu vachizotema nemasanhu.Everyday,we have issues of married women caught with zvikomba,,,,pathetic….7 boyfriends versas one married woman.At times,its painful

    • but,nezvavakuitika mazuano,,,its a pit,paying all such,things for lobola,then,someone,just come and takes your wife for free,,,,,regai vanhu vachizotema nemasanhu.Everyday,we have issues of married women caught with zvikomba,,,,pathetic….7 boyfriends versas one married woman.At times,its painful

    • but,nezvavakuitika mazuano,,,its a pit,paying all such,things for lobola,then,someone,just come and takes your wife for free,,,,,regai vanhu vachizotema nemasanhu.Everyday,we have issues of married women caught with zvikomba,,,,pathetic….7 boyfriends versas one married woman.At times,its painful

    • I would have no problem paying it too if was what was expected of me! My argument is why do we always seem to be running away from our own customs and embracing other people’s.

    • why wouldn’t they? Why do men buy engagement rings?

    • Dadirai Rose when we indulged in sex before marriage tts wen it all started.

    • @ Dadirai what is your take on musengabere,barika,virginity testing,kugarwanhaka as in your hubby’s young taking over u in the event of his death…etc.You keep talking about running away from customs.Can u please list down the customs and can u please tell us why the man who marries has to pay when other men were fucking for free?

    • We are probably embracing other people’s customs because we do not live in bushes anymore.

      Lobola is money.Money doesn’t grow on trees.We are saying we no longer want to work for your fathers ivo vakarara kunge mupurwa.He doesn’t deserve a cent of that money.There is nothing special about him.He should wake the fuck up and make his own money

    • We are saying you ladies are not virgins so your father did a lousy job yekukuchengeta.There is nothing to appreciate here

    • I’m not sure I know musengabere, barika as long as murume does not favor one wife over the others and with mutual respect among the sister wives! Kugarwamhaka was a way of making sure mhuri yemufi yakachengeteka not zvegreediness dzaveko. Virginity if most young girls preserved themselves some of them would not have been infected while they were still too young!

    • I’m not sure I know musengabere, barika as long as murume does not favor one wife over the others and with mutual respect among the sister wives! Kugarwamhaka was a way of making sure mhuri yemufi yakachengeteka not zvegreediness dzaveko. Virginity if most young girls preserved themselves some of them would not have been infected while they were still too young!

    • Ini hangu I just have 1 question to those gals talking about upholding the culture. If ur hubby dies will you all be open to the idea yekugarwa nhaka? 🤔

    • Ini hangu I just have 1 question to those gals talking about upholding the culture. If ur hubby dies will you all be open to the idea yekugarwa nhaka? 🤔

    • Well other men are having access because most people have run away from our morals and values that we were taught! Influence yewestern world has taken over! In my young days to hear of a girl talking of sex in their early teens was taboo but now that’s what they all do! I look at how we have abandoned rurimi rwaamai for chirungu, live with people from the east they never give up their languages for other people’s. Extended families we never used to segregate families like that but now it’s prevalent! Mwana wehanzvadzi yangu anotondiona sehama yekunze jwemusha! It’s pointless to list every custom here because I could write a book!

    • Well other men are having access because most people have run away from our morals and values that we were taught! Influence yewestern world has taken over! In my young days to hear of a girl talking of sex in their early teens was taboo but now that’s what they all do! I look at how we have abandoned rurimi rwaamai for chirungu, live with people from the east they never give up their languages for other people’s. Extended families we never used to segregate families like that but now it’s prevalent! Mwana wehanzvadzi yangu anotondiona sehama yekunze jwemusha! It’s pointless to list every custom here because I could write a book!

    • Women are at the forefront if fighting African cultural practises but are proud of culture all of a sudden when lobola is mentioned

    • @ Dadirai u are lying to say people from the East do not abandon their way for Western ways.Terrorism is actually being caused by a desperate attempt to keep Western influence away.I remember watching a show on tv when this young man killed her parents and sister coz he didn’t want Indian religion,culture and clothing.He wanted to be free from that

    • OMG now you are starting on a whole new subject on oppression of one religion by those who feel their religion is better, natural resources and how resources are drained from certain regions to benefit others, that’s a whole new can of worms right there! You saw one Indian man kill but that was one bad apple! Most Indians speak their languages no matter where they live in the world, Chinese, Koreans, Arabians, etc they never abandon their language! Our minds were colonized and we thought English was better than our own languages! Let me find a clip for you and attach here! Maybe that will open your mind to how the white men have used religion to colonize our minds and manipulate us!

    • I hope you got clip I sent to your messenger and read it! How we were manipulated by the very people we admire!

    • If the one ari kugara nhaka is genuine about it!

    • No one is oppressing anyone’s religion.The Moslems are just scared that their kids are attracted to a better religion and culture How come people in Asian countries have white weddings?

    • We are not manipulated at all

    • If there is one there is more.There is a father and brother who killed their daughter/sister for posting pictures of herself on Pakistan i think last year Women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to play sport and even drive cars.Customs are changing world wide.Not just in Africa

    • Have you read my clip? Did you understand what happened then our values, our morals, all overtaken through their education system. Why were there no beggars? Why were we all rich? Why did they seek to use education?

    • Well said

    • Well perception is everything the world is changing according to who? Your perception is the world is changing for the better! Mine is it was better but we had our minds so colonized that we cannot believe our own democracies were better our own civilizations were better, well it’s been good debating with you! Thanks! 😄

  • Viva lobola…Lobola should stay,its here to stay FOREVER! I just can’t imagine some CRAPPY,BUM of a guy just staying with my beautiful daughter ,getting her pregnant,having kids and sleeping with her DAILY,EVERY NIGHT for mahara/mahala without a cent paid to me??No ways!!A real man should pay lobola and he will be admired and respected.

    • Lets not be selective if we jus want to do things for jus doing. Ngatidzose musengabere kana iriyo

    • I want money and cows for my daughters period !…and even if the mkwasha/mkwenyana pays all the expensive lobola that i charge him,if he ever ever harrasses or abuses my daughter in any way,i will come after him and bash and beat him up heavily and take my daughter with me And help her file for divorce chop chop…No man shall abuse my daughter just because he paid lobola for her.

  • Where are the people taking nonsense from?? ..kkk this generation have closed the bible and made God’s word of no use ..the bride price existed long before.. So hw can those so called acts kkk rights kkk chapters kkk coming from ..if i pay for my bride its not like im buying or purchasing an item its custom though others thinks its a way of gettin rich ..but its custom dnt dilute ne ma lesbian akuzviita varume ayo its gettin crazy .#weAreWhoWeAre as africans lobola is just a symbol of unity

    • Show me in the bible where it states God said ‘ thou must pay lobola”. Dont mix Jewish culture and what God said

  • Oh and i forgot hatingawane pekupinza zita rekuti mugabe palobola pamwe vanhu vangaite nekuti ndiye ega ano itisa kkkj

  • Muchati Bhuu

    Zvekubhadharisana mari kuti munhu aroore is pure nonsense.Why put a monetery value on your daughter?

  • We need a debate on this Lance ?

  • If a woman wants bride price on her head respect her enough to pay for it. If you don’t want kudusa mari keep stepping. Some law will not change a person’s mindset. However individual circumstances could be looked into to make it easier for some people

  • Who can change tradition. Unless it revolves on it’s own

  • I believe one reason why Africa and Zimbabwe are poor and behind is because we don’t want to question “customs” and “traditions”. We are always satisfied with the status quo and are reluctant to think. Imagine if these in-laws would encourage you to buy a house, start a project or invest with that $6000 so that you and her daughter would have a better start in life!!!!!! If women and indeed all of us are not willing to review this “custom” then I’m afraid we all should stop complaining about the partriachal system we have period!!!!!!!!!!

    • Definitely true man

    • Don’t import western customs over our tradition and say we are outdated coz u now speak English. Valuing our customs doesn’t make us primitive.

    • It’s people like you who advocate for schools to distribute condoms cause u thinking u are learned and moving with tymes while in fact you are lost in your own identity as an African.

    • All these things are evidence based. We are all striving for a free, more inclusive and easier way of life and some of our customs are not helping us. Some traditions will want you to show that indeed you can live well with their child. They will encourage you to invest, they will help you save money and not enrich themselves. The custom was a good idea but we need to revisit aspects of it in light of changing trends (whether we like it or not Herbert Kanyinji we are moving towards a Western lifestyle even patinoroora pacho tinonzi pfekai masuit which is not our tradition!!!!!). On the issue of condoms in schools, im a medical person and i will tell you that age of sexual debut in Zimbabwe is 12 years from surveys, researches and based on girls who present at health facilities with pregnancies and STIs. Condoms have proven time and again that they prevent STIs and unintended pregnancies and even though we dont want to admit it these kids are already using them anyway. And imi matraditionalist acho kana mwana anhumburiswa at 13 years maakumuti roorwa usiye chikoro because you want money!!!!! This system is becoming too toxic and we need to review it. Tradition yedu takanonoka kuigadzirisa now we dont want to admit that we have lost it nxa

    • Hebert Kanyinji. Ndimi vanhu type inorambira pazvigaro coz you are resistant to change. Whats wrong with reevaluating the notion. Its being done wrongly and i doubt if its relavant. Using your brain to see things from a holistic persperctive is not western. Lets try to be logical about this issue.

    • .Handisati ndambonzwa kuti pane arambidzwa kutora mukadzi bcoz atadza kubvisa mari yataurwa nanatezvara.
      Typical of the self hatred of most black pple we think bcoz its our tradition or custom it must be changed. Cultures always clash and clashers pick the gud frm the other . There is no outdatism abt it. Wat then can u say abt LGBT marriages in our society.
      Hameno vamwe, ini I am not thriving to be a white man. Kune vanhu vari successful and super rich muno vanoroodza vana vavo our way eg Bona Mugabe. Its not abt the money. Mukwasha anongonzi tora mukadzi chero auya neyaainayo. Lets not cherrypick examples a few examples of greedy parents to soil the custom. Vatete vangu was married with very little and died after 35 years vaita family yavo. No fuss.

    • Emmanuel Nhende ndipo pandiri kuti the idea is a noble one but definitely the way we are doing it now needs to be reviewed. The moment we start hearing all these complaints from people we should be flexible enough to look at the issue. Surely if an inlaw does not factor in some issues before putting a price then he misses the point. We want everyone to enter a marriage happy and to work together in that marriage as equals striving to raise a family in best of financial circumstances.

  • Why should the token go one direction? Both parties are benefiting, as my family is getting a daughter in law, her family also gets a son in law. The problem is when we thing the woman is coming to join my family. No she is not, she is coming to join me as I also join her. We are starting a new family together. None of us should be charged. Traditional Africa holds that a woman cannot love but she is meant to be loved. Hence the man has to pay to show that he loves our daughter. Now that’s rubbish because these two love one another. A human being should not be sold. Lobola should just be small gift exchanges between the two infront of their families, not charging the man as if he is paying for some kind of services to be rendered. That’s ancient!


    • Happening in the bible does not make it a biblical thing. My point being,there is no commandment in the bible which says you must pay lobola. If there is show us.

  • Why is it most prefer to use ‘lobola’ instead of ‘roora’?

  • You dont abandon a tradition u modfy it to suit the times otherwse u lose your identity . Its good to question it and raise alarm bells if it is being abused .

  • yu shld be busy discussing important issues facing our zim not these petty issues Go n Register To Vote uko haikona kuzodakungwarira kiti hee tabirirwa

  • Imi varume who do not want to pay Lobola regai, Isu we pay willingly.

  • Its like you are saying is marriage out dated..or going to school is old fashion, or saying a person should just become rich without working. .my point is…..These are normal things that should be done responsibily if one cannot do so###$##*…#

    • Nothing is cast in stone bro. We did away with so many cultural practices like musengabere and kuzvarira. Why must we not question this one. Lets not have double standards. And mind you its not normal to charge for a token of appreciation

  • Wedza Chinga

    My thinking is the discussion should be focusing on those that are charging exorbitant amount of monies.
    paying lobola is one of our traditions as a people, I am a christian and this tradition of paying lobola is there in the holy book from Abraham when he paid lobola for his son Isaac and When Jacob (Israel) who for 7 years as a bride price because he didn’t have anything but ended up working for another 7 years. so for me we should not abolish but there should an option for those that feel they don’t want to pay they should not be forced to pay those who want to pay should find the pleasure of doing so.

    I think God himself allowed this for a reason. and its only that people have become so greed and demanding so much. We should not abolish our tradition of paying Lobola because of one or two abuses.

    Real man take pride in paying Lobola in our culture.

    • Ruvarashe

      Thanks Wedza for sharing yr thoughts. I am a Christian too, but remember, there are many practices that we done in the old days, particularly mentioned in the old Testament that fell away with the coming of Jesus. I a woman caught adultery would be stoned, Paul even states that ‘women should not be allowed to speak in church’ 1 Cor 13:34. The status of the woman in society has changed, but in African culture, women still second class citizens precisely because of practices such as lobola. Jesus never once mentioned anything about brideprice, and yet he came to show light to the world, and to provide all the teaching we need in this life. Jesus taught that “this is why a MAN shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife”…but after paying lobola we say, a WOMAN shall leave her father and mother and cling to her husband and his family…this is not biblical.

  • Mahure anonetsa by nature. Anoda kuzvidyira pfuma yake

  • The paying of lobola is not something bad if it is done in a reasonable way ,and if the wife is to submit to the husband as a meek wife as the bible stipulates .The problem we have some people who tend to use lobola as a method to become rich which is wrong.The day to day transformation of customs ,norms and values is also a prime factor in pushing for the removal of lobola for instance some feministic reforms which are being made legitimate contradict this lobola practise .In our hunting and gathering bands or in the past lobola was a rightful obligation because women were satisfied with their ascribed Status ,they were meek ,subservient and very respectful to their husbands .Unlike now we have radical feminists who are clamouring for a just treatment ,for a 50 50 with men and the world is moving right towards there ,women’s interests are being upholded .This however contradicts the patriarchal dominance and this also serve to eliminate the payment of lobola .One cannot pay lobola to someone who is gonna challenge him ,someone who is gonna be the same in status with him .In this modern era paying lobola is a capitalistic idealogy so if women continue to push for equal treatment with men l think lobola is gonna be abolished .We can’t select some customs to follow whilst we violate some customs which are also essential .

  • The problem is we have fallen in love with riches of late.A human being is beyond price,paying Lobola is a token of appreciation.We must breed love n happiness in marriage,these outrageous demands from some inlaws is obscene and uncultural,its high time we need to phase off that.Love conquers all..

  • mwana wacho

    Dear Editor, Why should you publish such a biased, unwell researched, incomplete and short sighted article. A well researched article must give the pros and cons of paying lobola. The cultural value and changes. The differences between modern societies and past societies. Do people still value Lobola and which classes of people are for and against lobola.

    Does this guy know that being charged $6000,00 is nothing because you can pay a deposit of as little as $100 and you are recognized as a son in Law. It is writers like this one who do not understand the process and how Lobola goes who mislead people. My Father now 70 years paid his last balance on Lobola when he was 60 from part of his pension but he was a very respected Son in Law.

    Even the poorest of the poor get married in Zimbabwe. Does he know that Lobola is charged according to how rich the Son In Law is. His ability to pay. The price tag is not on the women but on how you will afford to pay. I have 2 sisters both are teachers one is married to a lawyer and the other is married to a Teacher. We charged the 2 gentleman differently. I am also married and I am proud that I paid Lobola for my Wife. I did not buy her because no price can be placed on the value of a human being. Even Insurance policies cannot place a value that is why they call it LIFE ASSURANCE not LIFE INSURANCE. Paying lobala is sealing a covenant in our culture. It is man like the writer who when they pay lobola think that they have bought a woman and start to abuse them. If you understand the meaning of lobola you will not abuse your wife because you paid a token of appreciation. Lobola is a token of appreciation. It is like, when someone gives you a Cow and you go to him with a hen to say thank you. When your employer pays you bonus at the end of the year, Is the bonus equivalent to the services you have provided for the whole year?

    • big

      these days they insist on the full payment Sir!!! And if terms that are now very short term should be agreed on, they are followed up on a very strict basis… Failure to pay on time is now leading to serious tensions. It’s unlike kudhara when you would get to be a grandpa before having finished paying the installments. Fambai nenguva boss..

      • mwana wacho

        Vanodaro hudyire. They are not building a relationship. Zvainzi mukuwasha mukuyu hauperi kudyiwa ndopazvaka bvira. It means our society needs to be educated on the Idea and process of lobola. Ini vakadaro musikana neni tichidanana ndinobva ndamutizisa pasina cent ndotumira tsvakirai kuno ye1$ coin isinga chadywe. Vobva varuza worse.

  • Never we follow our cultural and traditional system

  • Asi kunobhadhara mahure ndobasa

  • Chingoenda ku europe kana usingade or kana une vana vasikana usingade kuti vabvisirwe roora ndiwe hapana anokuti wakanganisa. Kana zvisinga kuitire regedza iwewe kwete kuda kupa vanhu twuma ideas tusina basa. Next thing unenge wakutiudza hungochani hwakanaka….kwana kana usina zvekunyora…go swivel

  • Paying lobola is not national policy it’s a cultural thing. Asingade ngaarege they won’t be the first one to abandon their own culture..

  • Its a stupid culture. I think long back it was relevant becoz a woman would be married with her virginity. These days a girl loses virginity at the age of 15 and she loses it to someone for free. What is there to appreciate when she is no longer virgin

  • cineaste

    Lobola is one of the reasons women in Africa are still firmly under the thumb of their spouses and in some cases treated as property. It’s tradition, but has a lot of negative connotations attached to it.

  • James Dada

    I dont think there is a problem if you dont want to pay lobola.My advise is look for a lady who is also in your situation. Asi kana wadanana nemwana wemunhu anoda roora yake you cant negotiate or dispute that , unofanira kubhadhara wakanyarara kuti zii uchifarira mukadzi wako. Saka lets not cry nekunzi pay lobola. Zvimwe hazvibvunzwe!!!!Hatidi kukurudzira kuchaya mapoto. Hunhu hwedu hunokosha ,tsika dzedu dzinokosha.

  • Not only outdated but an institution of inequality and oppression

  • It perpetuates inequality and to some extent oppression of women. It also gives me a sense of ownership regarding the involved woman thereby making the woman more of a commodity that can be purchased. We all know what a person who claims to own what they might have bought behaves, they are so possessive and that gives some women less freedom. As culture is dynamic I feel it is time for our society to transcend and look beyond the payment of dowry which is fueling subjugation of women.

  • moda kutora wani mahara mwana sei muchida zvemahara kusvika kumunhu amuzii kuti wakarerwa here mwana uyu

  • You don’t pay lobola for your inlaws, you pay it for your wife. It’s a show of honour, respect and commitment to the woman who is going to be the heart of your home and bear your children. That’s why you have to pay even when her parents are no more. I suppose if she is okay with you not paying that’s fine but l know most won’t be.