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Marriage tradition: Lobola

English.news.cn   2012-04-05 14:20:21            

Lobola is a century-old tradition, still common throughout Africa. This system requires that a price be paid for the right to marry a women. This practice is still used extensively in contemporary African society and has raised both critical and supportive voices.

Lobola is an age-old African custom that is as alive today as it was 100 years ago. Both the families of the bride and groom would be scandalized if they did not adhere to this custom. On the surface, Lobola is a complex and very formal process of negotiation between the two families to come to a mutual agreement of the price that the groom has to pay in order to marry the bride. This may seem like a purchase and a sale, but this custom is the very opposite of a commercial transaction.

What makes Lobola so important for marriage is that it is based on a process that brings the two families together. Mutual respect and dignity are woven into the process, and the love between the man and woman is expanded to include the immediate and extended families. But, like all traditional customs, it is open to abuse and distortion in the modern world.

The Lobola process is often complicated and sometimes confusing for the modern couple. The process if very formal and has certain protocols that have to be adhered to. For example, although the two families concerned might have lived next to each other for years, all negotiation between the parents must be conducted in writing and not by telephone or by a quick visit. The reason for this seemingly absurd rule is that although the families might have known each other for years, they do not know each other on the level of the Lobola exchange. In other words, they do not know each other at the the level of the seriousness and sanctity of marriage.

(Source: Agencies)

 

Editor: Mo Hong'e
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