lobola, verb

Forms:
Also lubola, lubolo.
Origin:
Zulu, XhosaShow more Zulu and Xhosa, give (goods, cattle, etc.) to a woman’s parents in order to secure her hand in marriage.
1. intransitive. rare. To pay a dowry according to the custom of lobola.
1836 N. Isaacs Trav. (1936) I. 40Jacob had become enamoured of Enslopee’s sister, and had sent three head of cattle to ‘Loboler,’ [printed lololer] when it was understood, that the girl was to have been sent by the persons who drove the cattle.
1908 F.C. Slater Sunburnt SouthGlossary, Lobola, To pay dowry.
2. transitive
a. To secure the hand of (a girl or woman) in marriage by giving lobola to her parents; to marry (her) in this way.
[1857 J. Shooter Kafirs of Natal 48The verb for buy is tenga; but when a Kafir speaks of ‘buying’ a wife, he uses the verb lobola, which means to take away a cutting, and figuratively to remove a pain. It would seem therefore that the word, when applied to the giving of cattle for a girl, refers to the pains which the mother endured in bearing and nurturing her; and that they were originally given to remove those pains — that is, to reward her for them.]
1875 D. Leslie Among Zulus 170The one just lobola’d or married — goes into the house of her from whom he took the first cattle.
1923 G.H. Nicholls Bayete! 121It was generally known tha Mbojoni had lubolo’d Martha, and she was therefore considered as his wife. Nobody would come forward with more cattle unless he were a stranger.
1937 B.H. Dicke Bush Speaks 269The doctor claims the girl as a wife whom he has lobolaed (paid the woman’s value to her family for). But, no lobola has passed.
1948 E. Hellmann Rooiyard 81As one informant explained it, ‘if a man lobola a woman, he can lobola many more. If he married her in court he can’t take more wives. Because then I can put him in trouble.’
1965 P. Baragwanath Brave Remain 4As you did not work for those cattle with which the young girl is to be lobolaed, or herd them in your youth, you must be guided by your mother.
1970 M. Dikobe Marabi Dance. 107She wanted to find out whether the Ndalas had cattle to lobola her.
b. transferred sense rare. To secure custody of (an illegitimate child) by giving cattle, money, or goods to the family of the child’s mother.
1952 Drum Feb. 23In some tribes there is a practice whereby the natural father can ‘lobola’ or ‘buy’ such child and in this way obtain the custody of it.
To pay a dowry according to the custom of lobola.
To secure the hand of (a girl or woman) in marriage by giving lobola to her parents; to marry (her) in this way.
To secure custody of (an illegitimate child) by giving cattle, money, or goods to the family of the child’s mother.

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18361970