Lobola is the Southern African practice of paying the bride price. It is the sacred and integral aspect of the commencement of a marriage. This Eswatini Bride lets us in on her exquisite lobola ceremony.
How she met her husband
I met my husband, Itumeleng at a popular pub and restaurant in Melville called Liberation Cafe in 2016. I was a second-year law student at the University of the Witwatersrand and I decided to work part-time. On Sundays, the pub would host Karaoke Night and I would MC. Part of my job was to interact with people – and one of the topics we discussed one particular night was about cars, only to discover that we are both car fanatics and we hit it off from there. He offered to drop me home and the rest is history.
The Eswatini Lobola Process
The Kingdom of Eswatini takes pride in its traditions. First, there was Kucela – which is an intention to propose. Due to COVID-19 strict regulations, his family did not cross the border to meet; however, with the guide of my family, one cow was given to the Masuku family and the negotiations proceeded. There were further postponements because of the lockdown, but in March 2021, both families met in Eswatini. The negotiators finalised the lobola and two cows were presented; one for the mother of the bride and another one to be slaughtered. The total number of cows is not meant to be paid as a once-off; so half was paid and the other half according to the discussions that had taken place. Once this is complete, gifts in the form of blankets were given to my aunts from my father’s side of the family as well as my mother.
Words of Advice from the Bride
We were able to invest the time in attending pre-marital counseling which I believe is extremely important. It won’t tell you how to ‘practice’ being husband and wife or giving you all the answers; but it shows you and your partner real expectations on marriage and somewhat being on the same page with one another. I speak for myself when I say that the planning process allowed us to understand the importance of matrimonial property regimes in South Africa and Eswatini. We needed to do that! Finally, we just grew close and started speaking positively about marriage and bringing families together. We both know that marriage is bigger than us, but God knew exactly what he was doing when he brought us together.
When I got engaged, my mom told me that marriage is the work of God but the devil wants to see it collapse before the ceremonies. You need to pray and be specific in your prayer; not for the day to go well, but for the families to work together; for the protection and success of the marriage as a whole. It’s really important. One thing, I’ve taken from this experience is that God will never give you a task that is too difficult for you to handle, His plans always help you to you succeed.