Auntie Stella

28. My girlfriend’s getting married

Theme: Relationships with family and community
Changing Society

Dear Auntie Stella

I am a teenage boy and I am very much in love with a girl at school called Susie. We work hard at our studies and we have decided that we will get married after our O levels. Our problem is that her parents have pledged her to another man (kuzvarira / kubeletha). She has told her parents that she wants to marry me, but they say she must do what they tell her.

What can we do? If she continues to say no, they will say she is not their daughter. This man is older and very rich. I think Susie’s parents want her to marry him for his money. They’re already talking about lobola (bride price) and how much he will pay them.

Are parents allowed to force a girl to marry someone she doesn’t want? Please help us.



Talking points

  • Are there arranged marriages in your culture? Are they like Susie’s or different?

  • Some people think lobola (bride price) strengthens the ties between two families, some say it abuses women’s rights and others believe it has become too commercialised. What do you think?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of:

    a arranged marriages, and

    b marriages where people choose their own partners?
  • Are there any ways that Farai and Susie can save her from a marriage she doesn’t want?  Discuss their choices and advise them on the best approach.

  • How would you feel if your parents arranged a marriage for you? (boys and girls both answer)