Lobola (Bride Prize) Culture & The Equality Of Women In Zimbabwe

Posted On : 12 May 2018

Priccilar Vengesai


Bride price, better known as lobola or roora in Zimbabwe, is a customary marriage requirement for most Zimbabweans. This text discusses lobola and its impact on women’s equality. Over and above the fact that Zimbabwe is a member state to a number of regional and international instruments that enjoins it to observe equality between men and women, it also enacted a women’s rights friendly Constitution. This paper argues that the payment of lobola infringes the rights of women from two dimensions. Firstly, women are discriminated against as a category because they get little from lobola payment as compared to their male counterparts. Secondly the bride is discriminated against for she is not treated equally to her husband during the lobola negotiations.


Furthermore brides are not given the same status in marriage as their husbands. Lobola creates a hierarchy in the marriage institution which forms the basis for unequal power relations between husbands and wives. It is thus argued that lobola culture constitutes a blunt unfair discrimination against women on the basis of sex, gender and culture. Despite the existence of traditional reasons that are in support of lobola the harm it causes on women status and equality warrants the call for its abolition.

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