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Mamazala: Lets talk about how absurd lobola has become

This weeks episode of Mamazala had me so stumped I stopped watching midway to try and regroup and returned a few days later to try and make sense of the senseless. Dingaan was called in by Mpho Rammai to come and help him with a dispute he was having with his in-laws and wife.

He claimed to have paid R30 000 to her family to help with a funeral and as down payment for lobola for his wife, Thuli who hadn't come back to him for two years. There's a convoluted story here about miscarriages and a 2 year pregnancy amidst clear lies and conspiracy theories based on nothing. But what really caught my attention was the lobola (bride price) being R100 000.

I am not a strong advocate for lobola. I believe we can do away with the concept. In the Zulu culture which I'm a part of, we have something called "umembeso" where the bride's family gets gifts after lobola, "umbondo" where the bride reciprocates with gifts and groceries and "umabo". It is the ceremony after lobola, where the actual wedding takes place.

These ceremonies including lobola can take up a lot of time effort and money, thousands upon thousands of rands. I don't understand why we cannot just do the gift giving and move on. I understand that there is a deeper purpose for lobola but in these modern times, wouldn't we rather go on a honeymoon or put a deposit aside for a house?

Maybe I'm being too harsh. It isn't the case at all times that you have problems with lobola. When the families can come to an agreement together it can be a beautiful thing. But more often than not it becomes about how much money can be rung out of the groom-to-be. We shouldn't be starting off a union with one party feeling resentment for their in-laws.

What do you think of lobola? Do you think we should end it altogether?

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Dingaan Mamazala Mpho Rammai Thuli Zulu


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