Lobolo is historical slave trade in which women continue to be sold by their parents to become sexual objects, cleaners and baby makers to their slave owners. Women are bought and sold at a price determined by their family. Lobolo which is now called culture is no different to the general human slave trade hence our grandmothers and the women who came before them were not entitled to own any property and could be replaced at any time by another woman as and when the owner felt she didn't perform(Polygamy). The slave owner can cheat and abuse the woman, the terms of condition always remain that a woman must be with his slave master till death do them apart and that she can never leave.
In many tribes it's no coincidence that when the slave master dies the slave is then given to his brother or the entire family fight and refuse to give the master's property to the slave. The in-laws unconsciously know they are slave owners hence they will fight tooth and nail to ensure the slave that was bought gets nothing. They are literally short of saying, how does a slave bury our son and take his property when we own you?
Families still sell their children to men and this phenomenon is much rampant in areas such as Limpopo and KZN were polygamy is also rampant. The slave can always be replaced by a new slave and the slave now believes this arrangement is in her best interest.
Hence society today has a difficult with so called independent women(the almost free slave).
And my dear daughter that is Lobolo; One day I will also sell you to some random stranger and his family for a couple of thousand Rands where you will take their surname and become their property for life.
There I was believing that in the Zulu culture ilobolo is meant to pay for the upcoming wedding where some members of the grooms family would receive gifts, itshali (blanket), iphinifa (dress) necansi (straw mat), all of this for the grooms mother. The father's groom receives a bicycle, a coat and smoking pipe to name a few ow the items. I know the newly weds are to be bought a new bed and a small bedroom cabinet I think it's called a cist (not sure of the exact word).
This is something I have witnessed numerous times in my family.
Source - HERE
I am really wondering which perspective are you assessing lobola from because in the Zulu culture that's what it's for.
You would take not that it's almost similar in Indian culture were the brides family buys gifts for the grooms family and pays for the wedding I believe it's called dowrey.
I have recently gone through these steps with my own mother as I am planning to get married regardless of it being an interracial marriage, my mother told me what is expected and what should be explained to my fiancés family.
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