South Africa: Lobola from a gay perspective

Not only did loving couple Sape ‘Moude’ Maodi and Antoinette ‘Vaivi’ Swartz have to overcome prejudice against their relationship because they are both women, but the issue of paying lobola once they decided to get married was another challenge for them and their families.

Lobola is traditionally considered to be an exchange between a man and a woman and their families, with the woman often being the recipient of the lobola. Ten years after the decision to legalise gay marriage in South Africa, there appears to be a slight shift in some traditional circles around homosexuality. Prof Pitika Ntuli at Tshwane University of Technology said that being gay does not exclude one from being African. “If you look at isangoma, you see that homosexual practises are common,” he said.

Sape and Vaivi wished from the start of their relationship in 2009, to express their love publicly and do so in a traditional way that reflects their culture. On the day of the lobola negotiations in 2012, Sape’s family acknowledged to the ancestors that what was happening was something new, reassured them they have seen two women and admitted they were yet to learn. Read more via the Citizen