Monday, October 6, 2014

Lebola ~ or ~ Bride Price ~ or ~ Eight Cow Wife!

Drum Roll Please! 
 We are so happy to announce the marriage of Santee Labola and Olewthu Nycibi in the Johannesburg Temple on October 22nd.  
Are they not a darling couple!!!

Lebola has been settled and the Bride Price determined!

We have been so nervous wondering if the families would settle and the marriage could really take place.  The Xhosa tradition and custom is such that a man pays the family of his fiancee for her hand in marriage.  The primary purpose of lobola is to build relations between the respective families.  As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we do not encourage this tradition, however, out of respect for their ancestors Santee went ahead with negotiations.  

Santee was a missionary here in Port Alfred.  He met Olewthu while serving here.  He returned home to Botswana, they started communicating and the rest is history.  They are an amazing couple.  Santee serves in the Bishopric in his ward in Botswana.  Olewthu is in school in East London.

President Wheeler was invited to participate in the negotiations.  He drove with Santee and his Uncle who had traveled over 1200 kilometers from Botswana and also Brother Kondile, our Elder's Quorum President, who helped with translation.  Originally lobolo payment was in cattle as cattle were the primary symbol of wealth in African society.  In this situation, they determine the price of what one head of cattle would be and then take the money in cash.  So, if the price of one cow is $500 and you are an eight cow wife, you must come up with $4,000 american dollars.  Unfortunately, what began as a uniting of two families has turned a bit greedy.  Thus, our churches indifference with lobola.  If the brides family demands a high price, the groom must go far in to debt before he is even married to win his bride over.

At the beginning of negotiations, introductions were made, an offering of two bottles of Bourbon, a bottle of Whiskey, a pack of tobacco, some sugar and some rice were placed on the table.  The bride and groom are not allowed in negotiations.  It takes place between the Elders of the families and in this case President Wheeler was permitted in the room.  Often the meetings can go on for weeks, with a discussion taking place, the concerned parties separating to consider the offer and then returning for more negotiations.  Because of the distance, it was made clear that a final decision must be made at this meeting.  Back and forth the families went until all were satisfied.  I am not permitted to share with you on this public blog what the Bride Price was.  All I can tell you is that our little branch is going to have a first.  A temple marriage.  Not a sealing after a civil ceremony, but a couple who have committed to keeping and honoring the covenants they have made so far and will now take those choices to a higher level.  Halelujah!  It is a good day in the Port Alfred Branch.

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