Indigenous South African marriage facts

The indigenous African concept of marriage is a socio-legal bond between two clans around a man and a wife and forged through the ukulobola covenant and the delivery of ikhazi goods consisting of cattle and/or other valuables from the husband’s family to the wife’s. This bond binds the two clans to a permanent ‘in-laws’ relationship that gets strengthened by the procreation of children. The wife gets transferred from her clan where she enjoyed her maiden status as a princess inkosazana to her marital home where she is elevated to the status of the queen inkosikazi of the household. She excels in her stature as a paragon of love, care, diligence, reliability and resourcefulness. Symbolically a married woman is seen as a hen that spreads its wings to keep all the clan members including the young, the elderly, the sick and the orphans warm, served and satisfied.

  • Ndima, D. D. (2013). Re-imagining and re-interpreting African jurisprudence under the South African Constitution (Doctoral dissertation, University of South Africa). Available online

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