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The Anatomy Of Lobola: How Much Is Lobola

How Much Is Lobola: My previous article does not really answer this question, I decided to write a follow-up article with the answer, together with answers to a few other lobolo-related questions. Because I am not too knowledgeable about this subject, I decided to ask a wise old man for the answers. Please note, for the actual price of lobolo, the wise old man did not give me a direct answer; because of our culture, he probably wouldn’t any other day. Nonetheless, I still managed to extract an answer out of his comments.

Here are the questions and answers.

How much is lobolo in Zimbabwe?

Short answer:
About 4 to 6 cows, equivalent to US$1 500 to US$3 500 (depending on the price of one cow)
The Anatomy Of Lobola: How Much Is Lobola

Long answer:
It depends. The three most important factors are:
Is she educated?
Is she a virgin?
Is he rich?
If the answer is no to all these questions, lobolo may be as low as $500 worth of domesticated animals. If yes, it may be as high as $20 000.

How much time to pay?

Short answer:
A lifetime

Long answer:
It depends. While some Zimbabwean cultures allow a one-off payment, some cultures do not. On the other hand, the parents of the bride do usually want lobolo paid up before a lifetime is up. Like I said, it really depends on the people involved.

Below are a few more questions, together with answers from the old man.

Should we stop the practice?

No! You can’t just expect to marry somebody’s child and not pay lobolo. It’s so difficult to raise a child, so you have to pay lobolo for her. That’s how things have always been, and that’s how they should always be.

But isn’t that the thing that leads some men to abuse their wives? Don’t they always say they paid lobolo for their wives, and so they can do what they like?

No, the man who says that is foolish, because he isn’t following customary law when hes says something of that nature. It is not as if he bought his wife – he doesn’t own her. He paid lobolo according to customary law and that’s that. He is foolish to say he can do whatever he wants because he ‘paid for her.’

Why does it have to be men who pay lobolo?

Because it’s the man who wants the woman.

Wouldn’t it be a good thing if the government decided to impose a single lobolo on all the citizens of the country in order to guard against the asking of ridiculously high lobolo?

No. The government should stay out of these matters because they are private family matters. What if I decide not to make somebody pay lobolo for my daughter? Should the government then come in and force me to do otherwise?

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