What comes first, the lobola or the proposal? | Rules of engagement

Written by on 22nd Jan 2020

What came first… The chicken or the egg? In this day and age a similar debate unfolds; what comes first… the lobola or the proposal?

When you have the marriage discussion with your partner for the first time, surely you would discuss your cultural backgrounds as these tend to determine the order of the engagement-lobola process?

Back in the day, lobola *WAS* the engagement. Your partner asking you if he/she can approach your parents was/is still seen as a proposal. Discussing the ‘rules of engagement’ on-air, Via and Mthaux found that younger adults want to wear two rings just like in the western culture, and there is nothing wrong with that. This means that for them; the proposal/engagement comes before the “vula mlomo” (the proposer’s introduction and request for blessings from the families to marry the “proposee“).

For those who prefer that the lobola negotiations come first, it could be because it is believed that, that is how one asks for a person’s hand in marriage before proposing.

So, in essence, the cows come home before anyone gets down on one knee. Traditionally, some see it as a sign of respect to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage and carrying out the ‘magadi’ process (as known in seSotho and seTswana culture) before any other “modern-day” traditions.

But… wait a  minute. So the “engagement first” team still gets to keep the element of surprise, right? but the “lobola first” team are involved in the process thus agree to marry the bloke/lady/person by simply being present at the negotiations? yes?

Phew, what a mind fry.

Nia Brown and Mthaux took this debate to social media streets as they argued that ‘cows first’ takes away the ‘wow factor.’

So what comes first? The proposal between the couple or the one between the families?

Tweeps may have been divided but they showed appreciation for the importance of both.

https://twitter.com/Boipelo_Jean/status/1219205281151954944

Not forgetting the whirlpool that #TheShakedown created on Instagram as 53% opted for a ring be put on it first.

Listen here for the juicy debate:


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