Saturday, November 23, 2013

Marriage in Lesotho

In order to get married in Basotho culture, men have to pay lebohla, which is 26 cows, to the bride's family. Here, my host brother, Tsepiso, is plowing one of the family plots.

   So you wanna marry me, eh?
   Well,  my host mama says you have to pay lebohla (leh-bo-la).
   Lebohla? The hell is that?
   It’s a “fee” men pay to a woman’s family in order to marry them; kind of like a dowry in India.
   Lebohla generally costs 26 cows, but 5 sheep are equal to one cow. Different families have different arrangements, though, depending on the type and quantity of animals they have.
   The Basotho believe that after the marriage, the women belong to the house. It is her job to keep the house clean. This role is clearly defined here, and women can’t negotiate household chores with their husbands like American women can.
   After marriage, a woman’s first and last name will change, too because that is also part of the culture.
   Still want to put a ring on me?
   Maybe you should just go listen to that famous Beyonce song insteadJ.


  1. Really enjoyed reading your blog Jennifer. My son and I visited Jo-berg and Durban in 2009. We went on a safari in Kruger Park about 40 miles north of Jo-berg. It was on of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. I had no idea that the night sky could be so beautiful. Life is so different there. That's a good thing, because you really experience the awe and majesty of what Jehovah created. I'm looking forward to your next post my dear. Dr, Briggs

    1. Hi Dr. Briggs! OK, I've only been to the airport in Joburg (and want to visit the city at some point) but I loved, loved, loved Durban!! I'm so glad you and your son were able to visit South Africa. It's a mesmerizing country. Next year, hopefully, I'll get to go to Kruger after I close my service here in Lesotho. Lesotho is a whole other world, though. There's a lot of poverty here but there's also a lot of beauty, especially in the mountains and the Basotho. I try my best to capture it on my blog from my eyes, my point of view. Thanks for always stopping by!