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Ben Themba Silindza

Mafavuke Njengedangamane

Ilobolo

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ILOBOLO – (TIBANJWA NGALETIKUDLAKO/UGWAZWE NGESIKHALI SAKHE. Kundzima kuba NGU AFRICA. Sometimes things that were meant for good can also be used to destroy you. Ilobolo have done more damage to Africans than the good it was intended to for. If you are a sangoma or inyanga you will agree with me that most of the spiritual problems our people are having emanate from issues to do with emalobolo. Ignorance about emalobolo has caused destruction among black families. Ilobolo was part of building families but now it has become a tool to destroy families and has also hindered some who want to build families from doing so. Because ilobolo benefits certain families, it is the only cultural practice where those who are cultural and those who a Christians agree it must be kept. Christians will consider all other cultural practices evil and still demand ilobolo even though its cultural, yet they will reject doing rituals associated with emalobolo. If you do something that you have no knowledge of, you will end up abusing it. Sometimes we look up to Kings as if they will intervene in this already messed up Ilobolo but they are quiet. Ilobolo is now used to tear down families and to hinder those who wants to start new families. In some other nations the number of cows to pay for ilobolo was set up by a white fellow to fulfil his own intentions of black destruction yet Kings are silent are not even reversing such proclamation that were intended to destroy our families.
During the recent month December I had an opportunity to have a long conversation with my grandmother talking culture. Among the topics we touched on was ilobolo. She said ilobolo needs to be reviewed especially the number of cows that are supposed to be paid. She said many woman these days are also not worthy for ilobolo and the number of cows that are paid. According to her she said the number of cows were meant for a certain quality of a woman with a specific responsibility, these days such quality and responsibility don’t exist. She asked “why one must pay ilobola for someone who does not know what ilobolo is, it’s meaning, who is supposed to receive it, what must be done with ilobolo, the responsibility for receiving ilobolo and why her family should be given ilobolo? Is she really worthy for that kind of amount?” Her conclusion was that ilobolo needs to be reviewed, because even the families who receive it don’t know anything about ilobolo and the responsibilities for those who receive ilobolo. The ignorance about ilobolo has lead to some women giving money to the man to go and pay ilobolo for her, meaning they paid their own ilobolo. Such ignorance lead to giving ilobolo for same sex. If it was known what ilobolo is, then people of same sex were not going to pay ilobolo to families and those families were not going to accept ilobolo from same sex person. But ignorance is so rampant when it comes to our culture, and those with evil agenda have taken advantage out of our ignorance.
Now it has turned out as if in our culture one cannot have a wife or get married if they aren’t able to pay ilobolo. Maybe that is the reason even same sex people are paying ilobolo and families are receiving it because they are also ignorant. Culture does allow a person to take a wife even if the person does not have cows for ilobolo, but there are certain family protocols that must be followed (nalongenayo inkhomo uyayidla inyama). A person must not be prevented from taking a wife because he does not have ilobolo, our culture does cater for such people but there are procedures to be followed (kwendlalwa tihlantsi). But if I personally propose to marry a lady, she must not be afraid I do have ilobolo – I’m writing for those who do not have. Some families now demand that ilobolo must be given in full before marriage can take place and such is not in our culture (umfati akacedvwa). Some families now are trading with their children, they receive ilobolo more that once from different families yet the family is not suppose to receive ilobolo more than once (umuntfu ulotjolwa kanye emphilweni yakhe kuphela). Some families take ilobolo from different families and such will cause spiritual difficulty for their children (one woman one lobola) the spiritual identity of the children will be messed up. Infact the story about ilobolo needs its own book to correct all the ignorance about it, which leads to disaster and family destruction. In fact we need to have classes where we can teach about such a topic because its too long. The main secret about it is in why we must give ilobolo to the woman’s family and who is entitled to receive ilobolo. Remember in my culture marriage is only between a man and woman, there are other which are not in my culture.
There are so many people who teach about ilobolo on radio/tv stations yet are also ignorant about what ilobolo is and why we pay ilobolo. According to our culture ilobolo is only paid by the man’s family to the woman’s family – there is nothing other than that. Some end up saying ilobolo is just a token of appreciation, such ignorance is so rampant these days. Ilobolo/inhlawulo and kutsengwa kwemntfwana has caused so much confusion among Black people – all of this is very simple, the problem is that we are not yet prepared to learn from those who have full knowledge of our culture, everyone wants to be a teacher – we read books without even going to elders to verify, we start teaching others our ignorance. The greatest mistake our people are doing is to assume that once you are isangoma or inyanga then you know culture, yet most of tinyanga and tangoma are as ignorant about culture like everyone else but claim they know because they are in a position where they are supposed to be know, and end up misleading our people. We indeed perish because of lack of knowledge. Some people take advantage of our igonorance and rob us. There is so much robbery that is happening in ilobolo, I will advise those who want to give ilobolo to get special advise from elders before they give ilobolo. Get a lesson first and understand what you are doing and you will also need to teach the very same woman to understand ilobolo. The other thing before you pay ilobolo is that you must be aware that government law says once you pay ilobolo that is automatically in community of property – the lady is already owning 50% of all you have and owning you as well. The government is also very ignorant about ilobolo. How can you pay a certain family for their child to have 50% of your property and to own you? Is there any justice or equity there? My intention was just to highlight the topic so that people start talking about it, I will write a detailed article some other time. SIYINDUNA MAPOPO RAMPANE NDAUWE…
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