Definition of lobola in English:


(also lobolo)

Pronunciation /lōbələ/ /loʊbələ/

See synonyms for lobola


  • 1(among southern African peoples) a bride price, especially one paid with cattle.

    ‘Xolani abducted her and took her to this home, made an instalment payment on the lobola to Nokwanda's mother, and then went to work at a factory in Johannesburg to earn the money to pay the remainder of the five cows debt.’
    • ‘Marriage rates have plunged in southern Africa since the 1970s, partly because young men cannot afford the lobola, or bride price, required in cattle.’
    • ‘This lobola traditionally involves cattle or other livestock, but in modern times money settlements have been accepted.’
    • ‘Cattle were their wealth, the lobola with which men paid for brides.’
    • ‘Both traditional arranged marriages and modern marriages involve the lobola, or bride-price.’
    • ‘Polygynous marriages (multiple wives) were permitted where the husband had the means to pay the lobolo (bride wealth) for each, and to maintain them properly.’
    • ‘But the good news is that the two men have apparently reconciled, so much so that Mokoena is no longer requesting the return of the lobola he paid for Herbie.’
    • ‘He is hard at work building up a sizeable lobola so he can win Lisa's heart on 14 February.’
    • ‘Their economic value was measured in lobolo, usually in the form of cattle.’
    • ‘Even men who marry commoners are struggling to afford lobola, which has increased with the expectations of parents whose daughters are marrying into the mushrooming black middle class.’
    • ‘Five cows and 30 sheep were slaughtered during the event, which together with the bride's R60000 lobola cost the groom a total of R200000.’
    • ‘Now the church members, and Mpani's co-treasurer, Zameka Dikeni, say that the priest paid for the lavish wedding party and lobola out of church funds.’
    • ‘Silverfields Primary School from Krugersdorp donated R1 100 to the zoo for Makoko's lobola.’
    • ‘Other items worn by engaged women could include pieces that communicated her fiancé's progress with lobola.’
    • ‘If he has beaten her, he must pay an additional cow in lobola.’
    • ‘‘My father said that acting does not pay and I wouldn't get married if I continued because I wouldn't have money to pay lobola,’ says Rapetsoa.’
    • ‘The princess, whose father had demanded 114 head of cattle and two horses as lobola, entertained the crowd as she danced with a large silver sword presented to her by the Zulu monarch.’
    • ‘Nandi was the first of Zwelithini's daughters to marry and Mtirara paid 120 cattle and two horses as lobola and bought his bride a R65000 diamond ring.’
    • ‘Her family apparently informed her they had agreed to the arranged marriage and that lobola of seven cattle had already been paid.’
    1. 1.1The practice of paying a bride price.
      ‘Nomakhuze Solwandle of the Masonwabisane Women's Support Group said her organisation supported the custom of lobola and would welcome any suggestion to curb corruption within the practice.’
      • ‘Is the old Xhosa tradition of lobola going to be forgotten, and is the head of the kraal going to be two people in future?’
      • ‘That custom lacks the quaintness of lobola and in my world, it would be called kidnapping.’
      • ‘He said discussions about lobola had not yet been finalised.’
      • ‘I don't have money or anything, because with Africans, what we do, we pay lobola, we call it lobola.’


Zulu and Xhosa.