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A gendered insight into the lobola debate

May 24, 2012 - Comments: 0


When news of the USD 36 000 bride payment made by Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai broke, a grand debate around the commodification of lobola ensued. Additionally, the reported decision made by the respective families to go ahead with marriage negotiations in the traditionally ‘taboo’ month of November stirred even more emotions among the general public eager to raise debate around whether lobola is being uprooted from its traditional grounding in culture, or whether it is simply evolving to reflect the dynamism of tradition and modern life.

It has been half a year since these conversations took place; and because they were largely couched to feed sensationalist perspectives on the Prime Minister’s private life, they have sadly since died an inconspicuous death.

What remains, however, is the crucial need for Zimbabweans to re-engage in critical debate and interrogation of lobola and the evolutionary role that it has played in the adoption of various roles significant to the status that women acquire and assume in society.


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