Lobola (Bridewealth) in Contemporary Southern Africa

Implications for Gender Equality

Ezra Chitando & Lovemore Togarasei



This volume explores the multiple meanings and implications of lobola in Southern Africa. The payment of lobola (often controversially translated as ‘bridewealth’) is an entrenched practice in most societies in Southern Africa. Although having a long tradition, of late there have been voices questioning its relevance in contemporary times while others vehemently defend the practice. This book brings together a range of scholars from different academic disciplines, national contexts, institutions, genders, and ethnic backgrounds to debate the relevance of lobola in contemporary southern African communities for gender equality.


The significance of this volume cannot be overemphasized. It holds us by the hand, gently guiding us to the very ‘heart’ of gender injustice of the neocolonial materialistic consequence of current practices of lobola in Southern Africa. It is a tender invitation to those who claim to be the guardians of the traditions and to the gender activist intellectuals and movements to search for that deeper and life-giving understanding of lobola in the context of gender justice and equality. - Chammah J. Kaunda, Yonsei University, South Korea


Ezra Chitando is Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies, Classics and Philosophy of the University of Zimbabwe. He also serves as theological consultant for the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA).

Lovemore Togarasei, is Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Botswana.