“A legal marriage protects your rights, particularly your property rights, if the marriage fails,” said John Manyike, the head of financial education at Old Mutual. “That's why it's important to know the relationship between lobola and a legal marriage.”
Lobola itself is not marriage, but rather a part of the process of getting married under customary law.
This law clearly stipulates that in order for the customary marriage to be legally recognised, it has to be entered into by a man and woman over the age of 18 years who have the intention of getting married under customary law. (In South Africa, couples of the same gender are allowed to marry.)
“It's important to celebrate the customary marriage after lobola negotiations have been concluded. By merely paying or receiving lobolo in full without the requisite celebration, the marriage is not concluded in accordance with customary law and is therefore considered invalid,” said Manyike.