Businessman Witness Mdaka has sparked a social media conversation around the issues of lobola and its purpose in 21st century South Africa.

Mdaka shared a series of posts on Facebook in celebration of his five-year wedding anniversary and while some posts were shared in agreement, some, however, divided opinion among social media users. His original post now has 2,400 comments and has been shared over 2000 times.

When they were still dating, Mdaka says that he asked his future wife to move out of her Midrand apartment to a backroom in Tembisa.

“In my heart as a 24-year-old, this was part of my test to see if I’m marrying a smart woman – she didn’t ask questions, she just said I should find the room and that it would be my responsibility to pay it,” he said. 

He proposed to his wife in August 2014, after which she opened a wedding savings account for each to deposit R10,000 into, with a plan to get married in March 2015.

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He paid lobola in December 2014, he said.

In-laws returned the lobola

The Tembisa businessman, according to his profile, said his in-laws gave him back his lobola money the same day he finished paying, even though his wife is a doctor who graduated from the University of Cape Town – something that is often considered during lobola negotiations.

“One thing I respect about my wife’s family is that before giving her into marriage, they made it very clear to me that 1. Their daughter is not for sale, and 2. I must never lay a hand on her – otherwise!

“On the day of the lobola negotiations, they made sure that they give us trouble, to see if we can afford the lobola – then on the same day they took all the lobola money, gave it to my wife and said to her: ‘Give this money back to your husband, tell him that our daughter is not for sale, he must just take very good care of you.’

“We got married on 28 March 2015, just like my lady told me. Every month, we deposited money into our wedding savings account – we paid cash for our wedding and honeymoon, so we had zero consumer debt when we started our marriage, except for bond and cars, because I married a mentally productive woman, whose family was also smart enough to give us the lobola money to start well on our marriage journey.”

Though his wife was not “perfect”, Mdaka said he wished young women would learn from her.

His posts have widely circulated on social media, with some commending the family for returning the lobola, while others said it was unnecessary.

Others debated on whether they would have passed the “test” after being asked to move to a backroom in Tembisa.

Facebook user Londeka Langelihle Ndwandwe commented: “I don’t understand the point of this post, does he mean other women are bought? Whom their lobola was accepted? Lastly, point of correction ‘paying lobola’ does not mean you’re buying someone it’s a man’s way of thanking and appreciating his wife’s family for raising a life partner for him. Hence there’s exchange of gifts between both families,” while Tafaranazvo Mupfumi said: “Your in-laws are good. Kindly meet their expectation of keeping their daughter in a loving and caring way.”


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Citizen reporter – Citizen

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