Number of marriages in South Africa has dropped: Study

Cohabiting has become the new norm and marriage is slowly becoming an outdated institution, a new study suggests.

One of Professor Dori Posel’s key roles as a National Research Foundation Research Chair has been to investigate marriage markets in South Africa in the context of ilobolo and her latest study has found that fewer African men are getting hitched due to this traditional practice.

Posel‘s research has revealed that the number of marriages had dropped significantly in all races since 1995 more so in black communities.

According to the study, the rising price of ilobolo has been blamed as one of the main reasons for the decline, ENCA reported this morning.

“Very few men now seem to receive assistance from their fathers in paying for ilobolo and the fact that it’s now an individual responsibility for men raises an economic burden, Posel told the news channel.

Her study, conducted on 40 couples, also found that the price of ilobolo now ranges from R35000 to R100 000, a far cry from average 20 000 paid in 1998.

The increase in the ‘bride price’ was mostly linked to the commercialisation of the practice and its ‘manipulation by some families for material advancement’.

“When we come up with ilobolo it is a token, it is a promise that this young man here is able to head a homestead and cater for his family,” Professor Pitika Ntuli told the channel’s Dan Moyane.

“The issue is that up here in our suburbs we have commercialised these issues. If you are demanding R100 000 where is that money going? Is it going to be for the new couple that is starting a new life or is the money going to the parents as payment for raising your child?” he asked.

“There is a general neglect of cultural values. Everything has become commercialised,” he added.

What are your thoughts on this issue?