I find a serious disconnect between our modern-day and constantly-evolving notions of gender equality, and the archaic tradition of lobola.
These days, and feel free to correct me, women expect to walk into marriage on an equal footing, minus the age-old customs and behavioural norms of our parents and our parents’ parents.
I have heard it said that some ladies are loath to cook, clean or look after their husbands. There’s a maid for that. I even hear some women expect their husbands to do an equal share of housework, as if equitable chore distribution is an indicator of a perfect power balance.
I have even heard a couple of unmarried sisters vowing that they won’t be nobody’s maid thank you *snap-snap-snap* and getting married isn’t slavery.
Okay. Let’s talk about this, then.
You say you want to abandon the traditional marital setup, with the man as the head of the house in all things, and the woman responsible for the household upkeep and all relevant issues like food, clothing and cleaning.
If that’s the case, why not abandon all the traditions? Why does the man have to pay a bride price for you? If it’s not slavery, and since you’re 100% equal, why accept to be sold off like a cow at market?
If the thought of ironing your man’s shirt and making him breakfast before he (and indeed, you) go to work offends your feminist sensibilities, doesn’t the thought of being PAID FOR offend you even more?
How do you reconcile the two, sister? Riddle me that.
See, I believe this current MTV generation of Destiny’s Children and pizza-fed Kardashianites find the IDEA of cooking and cleaning and picking up after a man repulsive.
Look, if I’m going to pay however-many-thousands of dollars to your pops, I’m not gonna iron my own shirt or make my own breakfast or sweep the rug or change any goddamned diapers.
If I’m paying lobola I’m paying for a wife. And a wife in the traditional sense, even though I won’t treat her the way the oldies did, but if I do the traditional, respectful thing as a husband, I expect my wife to respect me that way.
So here’s the big question, sisters. Do you think it’s right to expect a man to pay lobola for you, but wrong for him to expect wifely conduct from you?
If it’s going to be equal all the way, then I suggest scrapping the whole bride-price business, and go into it as equals, and see how that works for ya.
Cos the way some of y’all are talking, you ain’t gonna see the inside of a wedding chapel anytime soon, and if you do, you’re gonna be the type whining about how your man was so sweet before marriage but turned into a monster after. Check yourself.
Now wash my goddamn underpenny!