from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A set amount paid by a prospective husband to the bride's family among certain peoples in southern Africa.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The dowry paid to a bride's family to secure a wedding among certain Bantu peoples of South Africa.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A present, usually of cattle, given by the bridegroom to the father of the bride, as is customary among the Zulus and other tribes of South Africa; also, the custom itself.


Zulu -lóbólà, dowry, give a dowry.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Xhosa lobola, Zulu lobola ("pay dowry"). (Wiktionary)


  • Today, even Christian Basotho who want to be married in the church usually uphold many traditional customs, especially the payment of a bride-price, known in Sesotho as bohali, but sometimes also called lobola, from the name used by another Southern African people, the Zulu.

    No Place Left to Bury the Dead

  • Many South African marriages have as their foundation bride-price, or lobola, which is coming under fire from parliamentarians and jurists for discriminating against the rights of women.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • As lobola, which is often paid in livestock, does not form the basis for a civil marriage, family law is not applicable in these marriages, but now a new law aims to improve the position of black women.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • It seeks views on whether the bridal price, known as lobola, should be abolished 'in line with changing times and in the interest of gender equality'.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • The Prime Minister reportedly paid a bride price, known as lobola, of $US36,000 about $35,500 and 15 cattle to his new in-laws. | Top Stories

  • Other Zulu words are already entrenched: "lobola" (dowry),

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Many daughters have been borne to me since, and my kraal is full of their 'lobola' cattle, but the only girl of the lot that I was ever really fond of was Nomalie -- perhaps because she was my first child.

    Kafir Stories Seven Short Stories

  • Part of the idea of lobola is that the family is paying for the right to count a woman’s children as belonging to their name and lineage.

    No Place Left to Bury the Dead

  • The plot turns on the African custom of lobola, in which the family of a bride is compensated for her loss with a payment, traditionally cattle.

    Sollywood – South Africa's fledgling film genre

  • Moseneke said that property was always held in a trust for others and in the case of lobola it would be managed for the benefit of everyone in the household.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

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