Carl Niehaus, 61, announced this week on Twitter that he had paid lobola for his beautiful partner, Noluthando Mdluli, 27. However, for younger men wanting to tie the knot, saving for lobola is not so easy.
In fact, being unable to afford lobola – where a groom pays the bride’s family in cash or cattle in the lead-up to the wedding – is one of the reasons some youngsters put off getting married.
Lobola is an age-old custom practised widely in southern Africa intended to form strong relations between the bride and groom’s families. The custom remains widely endorsed and respected.
However, amounts asked appear to have been increasing substantially in recent times, making it tough for love-struck youngsters to make the leap to marriage.
A study a few years back by Professor Dori Posel and Dr Stephanie Rudwick found that lobola had in fact contributed to the decline of marriages in South Africa.
Experts say it can put a strain on finances if not properly planned for with determined amounts sometimes ranging anywhere from R5 000 to R50 000 upwards.
Historically the practice was an essential part of marriage negotiations, the wedding itself and was known to retain significance for the duration of the marriage.
The study found that an “increasing emphasis on the monetary aspects of the custom is associated with ilobolo being more expensive now than it was in the past”.
“However, at the same time as the expectations on African men to pay a sizeable ilobolo have increased, so economic opportunities in the South African labour market, and particularly for younger men, have been eroded.”
Here are some saving tips for men looking to raise enough lobola to marry the love of their lives:
Have a budget in place so you have a clear idea of how much you will be putting towards your lobola fund. You can draw up a regular budget plan that includes your income, expenses and savings but make sure you create a separate column for lobola.
Think of saving towards lobola as any other short-term savings goal. By having this goal you will be disciplined and motivated to save money for lobola and if it is your first time saving, this can be blueprint for other savings goals.
3. Monitor your expenses
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, saving towards lobola may seem like an impossible feat but it can be achieved. Start tracking your expenses and review what areas of your life you can cut down on your expenses. These expenses can include takeaway dinner or going out for lunch but don’t cut the things that can save you in an emergency such as insurance.
The money that you save by reducing your expenses can be put towards paying the lobola.