Part 11 In A Series on Isintu, Umshado nelobola By Prof Victor Velaphi Otty (VVO) Mkhize

ILOBOLO is an issue between the two families. The first person who happens to know that there will be abakhongi (representatives from the umkhwenyana) coming, is the mother of the daughter. Ilobolo is a two way process. It is the process governed by the amathongo, as the belief is that to have people coming and initiate ilobolo is a gift from the ancestors.

On that selected day, abakhongi will arrive early in the morning and shout at the gate by saying ‘sizocela isihlobo esihle’. It will be then when the father will know for the first time. He will never attend to those people alone, but will call his brothers.

When abakhongi are shouting they will be mentioning these cows, by their size, their gender and their colors. When inside the house they will be asked to repeat what they have been saying.

The first cow that will be requested will be iMvulamlomo for the father. It is only then when the father will start talking. The father will call all his daughters and ask the abakhongi to point at the woman, once that is done, and then negotiations will start.

The elders will carry this work until up to the end. The two: umakoti and umkhwenyana have no say what so ever in the whole negotiation process. We must remember that, it is only the elders that can represent the Amathongo and not the youngsters.

Umakoti is a gift to umkhwenyana and his family to such an extent that the belief is that umakoti is not yours as umkhwenyana but is for your father. Also on the side of umkhwenyana, you are unmkhwenyana of the izalukazi zase mzini.

As umkhwenyana pays these cows, there are also cows which get given to umakoti by his father on the day she leaves her family. These cows are:
1. Umbeka – the cow that get given to umakoti to slaughter it when arriving at emzini.
2. Imbeleko – the cow also given to umakoti, saying that it will be slaughtered for her children once she is there.
3. Umthothongo – the cow that gets given by the father to umakoti, on behalf of the ancestors to always look after her at emzini.
4. Isiqodo – the cow that is paid by the umakoti family for slaughtering on the wedding day. Besides these there are cattle which also get slaughtered on the wedding day paid by both umakoti and umkhwenyana


Besides these there are cattle which also get slaughtered on the wedding day paid by both umakoti and umkhwenyana:

They are:

  • Ibhoma
  • Ishoba/Inhlabisamthimba

Prof V.V.O Mkhize is the President and founder of Umsamo institute For those who would like to know more about isintu umshado nelobola – can purchase my book Umsamo Nezibi Zezala. We sell it ourselves for R150 at our offices in Bedfordview. JHB and esigodlweni Sethu in Pietermaritzburg”


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