Pricing the priceless: My lobola story

Conversation Zimbabwe

“But tete, why are they charging so much?”

“Because we value you.”

It should be a simple answer, but it wasn’t. The 3rd wave, pan- African, liberal, mixed bag feminist wheels in my head, heart and stomach all turned at once as my sisters from all manner of mothers looked at me wide eyed because they knew I need specifics. For starters, my parents always told me I was priceless.

This is my personal story of lobola or pfuma (meaning wealth), as we call it in my family.

I understand lobola in two ways.

The first is what I know it is: a union. A happy place where as an adult you decide this is the life you want to live and you decide to go about it in a manner fitting of your culture.

Jabu Ngomane 1The second is how it ends up. The uncomfortable reality that actually there is…

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