The Herald, 10 September 1980
LOBOLA should not be abolished, but the amount should be regulated, Mrs Sally Mugabe, wife of the Prime Minister told the National Unifying Force cultural and social meeting in Salisbury yesterday.
Lobola has been misused by certain people with the result that there was no respect for the woman who was being married, she said.
“In certain instances, lobola had created enmity between the husband and wife due to the failure of the husband to pay it.
“In other instances, the payment of lobola is so high that young men are not able to meet the cost,” she said.
However, she felt it would not be possible to legislate against the payment of lobola, but there was room for the Government to regulate the prices that were paid under the system.
She spoke at length on the exploitation of women by men, saying this had to change in Zimbabwe if women were to play a meaningful role in the country’s development.
Mrs Mugabe urged Zimbabwean women to guard their hard-won independence jealously and advance the Government’s policy on reconciliation, resettlement and reconstruction.
Earlier, Mrs Muriel Rosin, vice president of NUF, praised Mrs Mugabe for devoting much of her energies to the advancement of women not only in Zanu (PF), but also in the Government.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
The national heroine who was originally a Ghanaian national had a strong and respectable voice on gender equity and children’s issues across all social structures.
Lobola remains a contentious in Zimbabwean culture. Despite the noble principle that it should unite the husband and wife’s families, in most cases it has brought about divisions.
Mrs Sally Mugabe’s desire and vision are bearing fruit. In 2019, the Parliament of Zimbabwe came up with the Marriages Bill whose aim is to repeal the current Customary Marriages Act (5:07) and the Marriage Act (5:11). The goal is to have one Act of Parliament governing marriages. The impending Act will also update the law in line with the country’s supreme law.
Presenting the Marriages Bill before the Senate in June — Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, told legislators that some families were commodifying the marriage institution and were in some cases withholding their consent until the full bride price had been paid.
The minister also said payment of the bride price will no longer be regarded as a barrier in solemnising marriage between two consenting adults.
When the Marriages Bill becomes law, this would be a milestone in realising gender equality. However, the law will need to be well monitored.