Definition of lobola in English:


(also lobolo)


  • 1(among southern African peoples) a bride price, traditionally 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. 1.1mass noun The 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.