South African News

Lobola Must Go!

Lobola, the traditional practice of gifting 11 cows to the bride’s family, is facing a serious outcry in the Zulu nation.

It is often cited as the reason for the high number of unmarried couples. A standard cash equivalent of 11 cows is upwards of R100,000.

A call to scrap the practice has intensified, with influential people getting involved.

Inkosi Nqayizivele Sithole, the deputy chairperson of the House of Traditional Leadership and Khoi San, told Scrolla.Africa that the issue is under serious discussion with academics, researchers, the elders and other stakeholders in communities.

“There’s a lot of outcry over the exorbitant rate of 11 cows to the bride’s family.

“Paying of lobola has been in the Zulu tradition for centuries,” he said. But before colonialism, “people were paying maybe one or two cattle to start a relationship between two families, which was that of a groom and that of a bride”.

The rule that lobola had to be 11 cows was introduced by colonial Natal Secretary of Native Affairs Theophilus Shepstone on the Zulu Nation in the 1800s.

“Complaints have been raised and there are people who want the practice to be scratched or reviewed,” said the inkosi.

Last year during the reed dance at Nyokeni Palace in Nongoma, inkosi Sifiso Shinga, chair of the House of Traditional Leadership and Khoi San, raised the issue with King Misuzulu kaZwelithini.

Inkosi Thanduyise Mzimela, chair of the Ingonyama Trust Board, told Scrolla.Africa that they want the practice to be cancelled totally.

In a study that was published in 2011 by the University of KwaZulu-Natal titled Marriage and lobola in Contemporary Zulu Society, Dorrit Posel and Stephanie Rudwick revealed that the cohabitation and a dramatic decrease in marriages since 1994 has been caused by this high-cost practice.


Related Articles

Back to top button