Why is it so shocking that I don't want to pay lobola?

Hoping to find someone who understands this custom.

If you're confused lobola is the custom of paying an agreed sum of money to your fiances parents as a token of gratitude for raising her so well and to prove that you will be able to provide for her.

The cultural symbolism behind it makes sense to me and is something I can support, but lately the custom has degenerated into a get rich quick scheme often resulting in men buying houses for their in laws before receiving permission to marry.

The greed behind it is what bothers me as I feel like parents are just making it more difficult for new families already burdened with student loans, and the costs of starting a new life together.

The custom has become so pervasive in my society that some families who do not believe in the custom suddenly start wanting money just because the groom is from a family that practices it.


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What Girls Said 1

  • Wow that's tough... I guess people are abusing the 'real' meaning of lobola!

    Where I live, the couples are the ones that are responsible for every budgets required for a wedding, the parents just help out with the process. Giving the parents of either bride or groom gifts are optional, but lots of people do it anyways (you know, to win their hearts) but most parents actually don't care about the gifts lol xD

    • We technically have 3 major gift exchanging ceremonies. I can't remember the traditional names but:
      1. Lobola, this one is usually the money ranging from the equivalent of $1000 to $20000.
      2. Brides family gifts - this was originally traditional reed mats, baskets and blankets, now it's cars and houses
      3. Grooms family gifts - supposed to be same as the bride just reversed, now it's just an excuse to eat and see how much money the groom is hiding 🙄

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    • That's quite an interesting marriage tradition, to be honest and it is actually pretty similar with the traditions in my country. The one that I was talking about is what people currently do now... there's like 8 freaking traditional steps for wedding ceremony in my community xD

      Anyways, I guess the conditions of the items are changing with time but I think they are still very expensive and hard to fulfill :O

    • At least the women understands, which is great!

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