Recent studies have shown that fewer people are getting married in South Africa. Divorce rates also continue to skyrocket. As more people delay marriage, researchers have found that one of the main reasons behind this is a lack of finances.
For most African couples, wedding costs include a range of costs such as those for the traditional wedding, the Western wedding and of course lobola.
In recent years, the relevance of lobola has been questioned by many people. The tradition is practised by many African cultures mainly in Southern Africa.
The main purpose is to thank the bride’s family for their efforts in the upbringing of their daughter.
Paying lobola is about building relations.
The groom and his family usually pay the bride’s family in cash nowadays. Cattle remain an important sign of wealth in modern South Africa, so some families may prefer livestock.
Where the lobola is paid in cash, a value is set for each cow and this amount is multiplied by the number of cows requested by the bride’s family.
So what is the most expensive lobola in South Africa?
The lobola amount varies with each culture and is dependent on a number of factors. In the Zulu culture, when a man proposes marriage it will cost him at least 10 cows. In some instances, lobola amounts have been as much as R250 000!
Lobola according to provinces in South Africa:
- Western Cape: R35 000 or 5 cows
- Eastern Cape: R85 000 or 15 cows
- Northern Cape: R30 000 or 5 cows
- KwaZulu-Natal: R78 000 or 10 cows
- North Western: R65 000 or 8 cows
- Mpumalanga: R35 000 or 5 cows
- Limpopo: R85 000 or 11 cows
- Gauteng: R82 500 or 12 cows
Some families are known to charge as much as R100 000 for lobola, often citing their daughter’s good education as a reason.
If the bride-to-be has no children out of wedlock, the lobola amount often increases too.
In recent years, greed has undermined the significance of the practice of lobola. Some families have been known to demand exorbitant amounts from the groom’s family for their own selfish reasons.
This lowers the value of the importance of lobola as a tradition and commercialises the process.