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REGISTRATION OF CUSTOMARY MARRIAGES
22 July 2019  | Gerda Janse van Rensburg | Views: 607
 

For the people of South Africa traditions are important and so much more when you are getting married to the man/woman of your dreams.

 Lobola refers to as either "bride wealth" or as "bride price", is property in cash or kind, which a prospective husband or head of his family undertakes to give to the head of a prospective wife’s family in consideration of a customary marriage. This tradition is widely maintained in South Africa and a beautiful ceremony when two families are joined.

 

More often than not, people who are married customarily do not know what they are required to do post the negotiation and payment of lobola (bride price).  In fact they will be excited about the traditional formalities having taken place, not knowing that there are also statutory requirements that they are compelled to fulfil.

 

The process of Lobolo negotiations can be long and complex, and involves many members from both the bride's and the groom's extended families; normally, this would just be the uncles of the marrying parties, as well as the fathers, where custom allows.

 

Once the marriage has been celebrated, it has to be registered with the Department of Home Affairs within a period of three (3) months. Should the married parties fail to do so until the period of three months lapses, the officials of Home Affairs will refuse to register that marriage unless they receive a court order from the High Court compelling them to do so.  This will be extremely costly and something that will be out of reach for most newly-wed couples, who are trying to get their life as a married couple on track.

 

Who is expected to be there for the registration at Home Affairs?

*The bride and the groom and they must bring their original identity documents;

*One witness from each side of the family and they must also bring their original documents;

*Letter of the negotiations, signed and dated;

*In a case where a Chief conducted the customary marriage, a letter from him is also required. The Chief is not expected to be physically present.

The dissolution of a customary marriage occurs on the death of the husband or wife.   It is therefore imperative that the parties to a customary marriage also does appropriate estate planning  and the drafting of a will.