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It’s that time of the year again when South Africans recognise and celebrate their cultural heritage. This heritage month, let’s talk about lobola – a very controversial and touchy subject.

Lobola (or magadi in Setswana) is the price for a bride paid by a prospective husband among certain cultures in southern Africa. This symbolises a coming together of two families and shows commitment from the groom (and his family) to his bride.

While it might not be every girl’s dream to get married, I know a lot of ladies who have given thought to the event: the venue, theme and even an M.C (crazy right?)

How the actual lobola negotiations and procedures leading to the wedding day  play out, is an entirely different story that we often overlook – until it has to happen. Most ladies will agree with me when I say no one can ever put a price on a bride’s life – we are priceless, but if your customs dictate the payment of lobola you have to face up to the reality of the African custom at some point and embrace your heritage.

As a young girl, I remember  how fascinated I was by the Postbank lobola ad of a young boy asking for a girl’s hand in marriage. The boy confidently walks into the store of the girl’s father holding a packet of steak. He tells the father that he will provide a packet of steak every month, so that by the time he turns 20, he would have given the father six cows worth of lobola. I didn’t think about the concept behind the ad then, but now, I can’t help but wonder how much harder it must be for the African brothers preparing to get married.

Lobola is handled different from culture to culture, but how deep does one need to dig into his pocket to meet the bride’s parents’ preference? Although this is not supposed to be a financial transaction, reality is, it can cause a setback in one’s finances. Lobola “calculators” have been invented to try and thumb suck the amount, but let’s face it, the figures that come up are ridiculous (no one should take these seriously). Negotiations too, don’t always go as planned – even if you send your “hardcore” uncle to represent you and beat down the price to a lower one.

just-married-decoMarriage is not something to rush into, but if you’re planning to get married in the near future, you do not need lobola to be an obstacle. This is why it is a good idea to start investing in your future today. There are costs that need to be considered – lobola, the costs of the actual wedding and your married life ahead. Taking a loan might seem like a great plan, but this only leaves you in debt. Instead, the reward you get from investing outweighs the costs incurred when paying back your loan.

There are great financial platforms that allow you to put away some money away for your future. If you’re lucky enough you might still have some left over. EasyEquities makes it easy with the most affordable options on the market. You’re able to invest from as little as R50 in some of the brands you love and support (like Woolworths or insert your brands of choice) and receive favourable returns on your investment. With enough foresight you should be ready to sing the Makoti ke dinako (Bride, it is time) wedding song without stressing over money.

Start your investment journey with EasyEquities today and see if you still need that loan by the time you have to send your hardcore uncle to negotiate lobola for you.