[LISTEN] 'Lobola should not be exclusive to heterosexuals'

There have been conflicting views on the practice of lobola and whether or not same-sex partners should be allowed to carry out the custom, with some suggesting it should remain exclusive to heterosexuals.

Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) president Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena is one such person who insists that extending the practice of lobola to same-sex couples goes against African traditions.

He says lobola should be between a man and a woman.

If something is being practised in that particular community, it does not make it right. We cannot compromise as this leadership and say let's massage this practice which is foreign to us as traditional leaders. We are not going to call them names or do whatever, as long as they are happy, let them do it.

Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena, President - Contralesa

They remain our people but what they are doing is not part of our culture. What they are doing is diluting own culture.

Kgosi Mathupa Mokoena, President - Contralesa

With an opposing view on the matter OUT Well-Being paralegal officer Moude Maodi-Swartz shares how she underwent the process with her wife.

She says the perception that lobola should only take place between a man and a woman is patriarchal.

Culture is very exclusive and there is this box that we have to fit in but love is love.

Moude Maodi-Swartz, Paralegal officer - OUT Well-Being

We are in a same-sex relationship. There is no man in our household, there is no standard that because you have paid lobola you have more rights in the household.

Moude Maodi-Swartz, Paralegal officer - OUT Well-Being

That was more of our families coming together and acknowledging the fact that these two women are in love. They informed our ancestors because this is our culture. Excluding us and saying that there is no man in the relationship, that is patriarchal standards.

Moude Maodi-Swartz, Paralegal officer - OUT Well-Being

Culture has to be progressive in order for it to remain relevant to our lives. You can't be raised as a Tswana woman and when you fall in love you drop your heritage, you drop your culture.

Moude Maodi-Swartz, Paralegal officer - OUT Well-Being

In her response to Mokoena, sangoma and African spiritual teacher Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi says the essence of African culture is about building the collective and not about gender.

She also says kinship is about neutrality and applying the norms that have been created by the community you're serving. Homosexuals are also part of that community, she adds.

It is about finding a neutral ground and making sure people are seeing where each person is coming from.

Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi, Sangoma and African spiritual teacher

Some of his [Mokoena] statements perpetuate gender stereotype roles... we do a lot of things that diminish people and take away people's power and people's identities in the name of identity.

Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi, Sangoma and African spiritual teacher

The essence of lobola is bringing the two families together. There is a token of appreciation that gets exchanged.

Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi, Sangoma and African spiritual teacher

Click on the link below to hear the full discussion...


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