Avatar photo

By Vukosi Maluleke

Digital Journalist

Costly love: Here’s how much you could pay for lobola in 2024

Amounts range between R25 000 and R50 000 on average.

When J’Lo said ‘love don’t cost a thing,’ she’d clearly never been to Africa – and neither did she know about lobola.

For years, the cost of lobola (also known as ‘bride price’) has been a hot topic in many communities.

The customary exchange between two families to seal the union between husband and wife is practiced in many African cultures.

Traditionally, the amount was quantified in livestock, but that has since changed. In modern day society, actual cash is used, with each cattle assigned a monetary value.

If you’re planning to take things to the next level with your lover this year, here’s how much you must have in your bank account.

ALSO READ: Your ‘lobola’ could be the key to riches – if you invest it

Negotiations process

While the price of lobola is determined at a family’s discretion, amounts range between R25 000 and R50 000 on average.

However, the fee can go up to R100 000 and beyond, depending on what the prospective spouses have to bring to the table.

Just like with any typical negotiation, various factors are considered when discussing the suitable number of ‘cows’ required in exchange for a daughter’s hand in marriage.

According to cultural experts, a prospective wife without children but within child-bearing age is usually deemed worthy of more cows.

In modern-day Mzansi, educational qualifications, career success and wealth can also tip the scales, driving up the lobola amount.

ALSO READ: Before the Lobola negotiations this weekend, discuss an ante nuptial contract with your partner

Wish list

Getting through negotiations is a significant part of the process, but it’s only the beginning.

Once the uncles have reached consensus and cash transactions have taken place, the bride and groom’s families gather in celebration.

Usually, ceremonies are held to unite the two families through the exchange of gifts and breaking of bread. The number of ceremonies vary across cultures.

While both families contribute to the celebratory events, hosting the ceremonies can be quite costly.

ALSO READ: Dear Cyril, I need advice on a rather weighty matter: lobola

Is a ‘white wedding’ necessary?

Undoubtedly, a lot has changed in the last decade – including wedding trends and preferences.

Gone are the days when couples would be hell-bent on ditching their African wedding attire for white ballgowns and tailored tuxedos to have a “white wedding”.

Previously, most couples would follow-up their lobola celebration with a Western-style wedding to seal their union.

Fast-forward to 2024, a growing number of Africans are opting for a single ceremony celebration, saving significantly on wedding costs.

ALSO READ: PICS: Lobola negotiations went well for Khutso Theledi

Read more on these topics

cows Lobola love marriage Valentine's day weddings

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits