Streaming issues? Report here
Deutsche Welle DW logo Deutsche Welle DW logo
DW Hour
00:00 - 01:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: Best of Talk
See full line-up
DW Hour
00:00 - 01:00
Home
arrow_forward
Local

What is a customary marriage? And when is it valid? An expert explains

8 November 2018 1:21 PM
Tags:
Customary Law
lobola
Lerato Sengadi
customary marriage
RCMA
HPP
Zama Mopai
Marriage Act

Customary law expert and lecturer Zama Mopai differentiates between living customary law and official customary law.

Customary law expert and lecturer Zama Mopai says when it comes to customary marriage, each case needs to be dealt with on its own merits.

Mopai says there are two types of customary law; living customary law and official customary law.

Official customary law is reflected in legislation while living customary law is reflected in every day practices and differs in various communities.

Last week, the court ruled that Lerato Sengadi was married to late rapper HHP in terms of customary law, despite his family arguing that certain marriage rituals weren't completed.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng ruled that legislation regarding customary marriages do not require the bride to be "handed over".

The judges explained that the law recognises the following requirements for a customary marriage:

  • lobola must be fixed
  • the parties must consent to customary marriage in accordance to customary law
  • parties must be older than 18 years or have parental consent
  • marriage must be negotiated an entered into or celebrated according to customary law

Mopai advises that customary marriage must be registered to serve as proof and in order to reflect the marital status of the couple.

However, failure to register the marriage doesn't mean the marriage isn't valid.

According to the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (RCMA), the only way out of a customary marriage is through a decree of divorce from the High Court, she explains.

Mopai argues that a partial contribution towards the agreed upon lobola amount is sufficient for customary marriage to be valid.

She says the agreement or intention to give lobola alone is not enough.

I do understand where the judge comes from. I agree with the decision that he made based on the circumstances of the case.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

The court had to make a decision based on the evidence that was brought before it. Evidence was brought in forms of pictures and documents.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

Evidence was brought in forms of pictures

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

On one side, the judge said the transfer of the bride is not a necessity, on the other side he took the evidence of the celebration.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

In one case, the court was very clear that the celebration does not have to be a big ceremony.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

For a customary marriage to be valid, you must first enter into the marriage according to custom and the once that is done then you can proceed to register it.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

The registration itself does not make the marriage valid. What makes the marriage valid is customary law.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

Living customary law is flexible in its nature. It varies from one community to another. It's not uniform.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

The agreement alone for me would not be lobola, there must at least be a partial giving.

Zama Mopai, Customary Law Expert and Lecturer at the University of Venda

Listen to the intriguing discussion on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


8 November 2018 1:21 PM
Tags:
Customary Law
lobola
Lerato Sengadi
customary marriage
RCMA
HPP
Zama Mopai
Marriage Act

Recommended

More from Local

blood-donation-tubesjpg

WCBS appeals for blood donations on Mandela Day

5 July 2020 9:53 AM

The Western Cape Blood Service (WCBS) has appealed to each and every eligible donor to donate blood this Mandela Day.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

d4-mtjfwwaau-bljpg

South Africans pay tribute to iconic actress Mary Twala

5 July 2020 9:11 AM

Legendary South African actress Mary Twala passed away at the age of 80.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

pakalolo-seal-restaurantpng

[WATCH] Rescue centre treating injured seal that visited Table View beach bar

4 July 2020 2:41 PM

The disorientated seal that banged on the door of Pakalolo in Table View this week is being rehabilitated at the Hout Bay Seal Rescue Centre.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

gillian-malouw-youtube-screengrabpng

Meet Gillian Malouw, the first woman in Africa to navigate a submarine

4 July 2020 12:48 PM

Lieutenant Gillian Malouw is the first woman submarine officer in Africa. She opens up about her life in the navy.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

qaurantine-vlogs-carl-weberpng

CT comedian who lost his parents-in-law to Covid posts daily vlogs in isolation

4 July 2020 10:21 AM

Cape Town-based comedian Carl Weber lost his in-laws to Covid-19 last month, just five days apart. His wife also tested positive for the virus.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

shack-reerected-in-emplwenipng

Bulelani Qholani may approach Equality Court over shack eviction

4 July 2020 9:21 AM

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says Bulelani Qholani could take the City of Cape Town to the Equality Court over his violent eviction.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

bulelanijpg

It's a lie that he undressed when he saw law enforcement - community leader

3 July 2020 6:59 PM

The man who was forcibly removed from his shack while naked has denied allegations that he deliberately undressed himself to block being evicted.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

school-hallway-pexels-photojpeg

WC Education MEC: Schools allowed to bring more grades back if they apply to HOD

3 July 2020 5:41 PM

Grades R, 6, and 11 must return to school on Monday, while schools with enough capacity may apply to bring other grades back too.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

capetalk-micjpg

CapeTalk shakes up its daytime, weekend and early morning line-up

3 July 2020 4:56 PM

You heard it here first: CapeTalk will introduce a new daytime, weekday line-up starting from Monday, 6 July 2020.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

ecd-1png

No political will to reopen ECD sector, says prof

3 July 2020 4:13 PM

South Africa's young children remain at risk as there is still no indication of when early childhood development (ECD) centres will reopen.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward