Bride Price (Lobola) and Gender-based Violence among Married Women in Lusaka

Main Article Content

Patience Moono
Kusanthan Thankian
Gaurav B. Menon
Sidney O. C. Mwaba
J. Anitha Menon


Background: This study investigated the influence of lobola, a payment made for marriage, on gender-based violence among married women in Lusaka’s Kamanga compound. Specifically, the study sought to establish how married women and men perceived lobola in relation to gender-based violence in marriage.

Method: The study used the qualitative research method. Participants in the study included eighteen married women and men. In addition, in-depth interviews using a semi-structured interview guide were conducted with five key informants.

Results: The findings from the study suggest that paying lobola translated into buying a wife and as such, a wife became a husband’s property. Lobola gave the man or husband powers to treat his wife as he wished, including subjecting her to sexual and other forms of abuse. This seems to take away a wife’s rights to make decisions on matters that affected her own life such as being restricted in her movements, in choosing what to wear, and depriving her of a claim over her children among others.

Conclusion: The study recommends that the Ministries of Justice and Gender and the Local Government should look deeply into the issue of paying lobola and correct the practice by deterring or reprimanding those who do adhere to its significance. Civil society should also lobby government to enact appropriate laws and policies to deal with patriarchy and help married women to enjoy their rights as human beings.

Gender, gender based violence and lobola, violence

Article Details

How to Cite
Moono, P., Thankian, K., Menon, G. B., Mwaba, S. O. C., & Menon, J. A. (2020). Bride Price (Lobola) and Gender-based Violence among Married Women in Lusaka. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 33(8), 38-47. Retrieved from
Original Research Article


Chuunga D. Enjoy your marriage. African secrets on marriage. Lusaka: Adventist Press. 2012;1.

Khan N, Hyati S. Bride-price and domestic violence in timor-leste: A comparative Study of married-in and married-out Cultures in four Districts 4. UNFPA Timer-Leste; 2012.

Niner S. Barlake: An Exploration of marriage practices and issues of women’s status in Timor-leste. Local-Global: Identity, Security, Community. 2012;11: 138-153.

Anderson S. The Economics of dowry and bride price. Journal of Economic Perspectives. 2007;21(4):151-174.

Ngutor S. The Effects of High Bride-Price on Marital Stability. IOSR Journal of umanities and Social Sciences 2013; 17(5):65-70.

Dery I. Bride price and domestic violence: empirical perspectives from Nandomdistrict in the North Western Region of Ghana. International Journal of Development and Sustainability. 2015;4(3):258-271.

Mangena T, Ndlovu S. Implications and complications of bride price payment among the Shona and Ndebele of Zimbabwe. International Journal of Asian Social Science. 2013;3(2):472-481.

Mawere M, Mawere AM. The changing philosophy of african marriage: The relevance of the Shona customary marriage practice of Kukumbira. Journal of African Studies and Development. 2010; 2(9):224-233.

Chireshe E, Chireshe R. Lobola: The perceptions of great zimbabwe university students. The Journal of Pan African Students. 2010;3(9):211-221.

Kambarami, M. Femininity, sexuality and culture: Patriarchy and female subordination. Africa Regional Sexuality Resource Centre; 2006.

Hague G, Thiara R. Bride price, poverty and domestic violence in uganda. centre for the study of safety and well-being, University of Warwick, UK; 2009.

Asiimwa H. The Changing dynamics, Trends and perceptions in the bride custom in uganda and the implications- a feminist perspective: A case of Banyakitra ethnic group in Western Uganda. International Institute of Social Studies; 2019.

Chabata T. The commercialisation of Lobola in the Contemporary Zimbabwe: A double Edged sword for women. Journal on Women Experiences. 2011;5(2).

Avais MA, Wassan A, Brohi A, Chandio R. An Analysis Of Perception Regarding Bride Price In Jacobabad city, Sindh. Educational Research International. 2015;4(1):145-148.

Mukanangana F, Moyo S, Zvoushe A, Rusinga O. Gender based violence and its effects on women's reproductive health: the case of Hatcliffe, Harare, Zimbabwe. African Journal Reproductive Health. 2014;18(1):110-122.

Sithole I. An Exploration of Lobola and its Impact within the area of Sexual Relations and Productive Imperatives. MA Thesis University of Zimbabwe; 2005.

Bourke-Martignoni J. Violence Against Women in Zambia. Geneva: World Organisation against Torture; 2002.
Available: Accessed 9 August 2020

Ashraff N, Bau N, Nunn N, Voena A. Bride price and female education. Harvard Web Publishing; 2018.

Dura S; 2015. Lobola: ‘A Contested Cultural Practice in the Era of Upholding of Women’s Rights’.
Available: viewed on 27 July, 2016

Kusanthan, T, Mwaba, SOC, Menon, JA Factors affecting domestic violence amongmarried women in Zambia. British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioral Science. 2016;12(2):1–13.

Bawa JAK. Bride price in Ghana: An assessment of its social representations in selected Communities in Northern Ghana. UDS International Journal of Development. 2015;2(2):77-87.

Fuseini K, Dodoo FA. I bought you, I owe you bride wealth and women’s autonomy in Ghana. University of Uganda: Regional Institute for Population Studies, Legon; 2012.

Muthegheki SB. An exploratory study of bride price and domestic violence in Bundibugyo District, Uganda. Centre for Human Rights Advancement; 2012.

Menon JA, Mwaba SOC, Kusanthan T, Lwatula,C. Risky sexual behaviour among university students,”InternationalSTD Research & Reviews. 2016;4:1-7.

Kusanthan T, K Suzuki K. Zambia urban sexual behaviour and condom use survey; 1999, Research Department, PSI.