Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
A FAMILY from Mawabeni in Matabeleland South refused to bury their daughter who had been customarily married for the last 14 years, demanding their in-laws pay up lobola.
The Tshabalala family demanded about $5,500 before burying their daughter Siphilisiwe.
Siphilisiwe was married to Leonard Sayi in 2002 and the couple had two children, one in Form One and another in Grade Seven.
Her body had been stuck at a local mortuary for a week and was buried on Wednesday after the in-laws managed to pay $600 and negotiated terms to clear the balance.
A Chronicle news crew caught up with the two families before Siphilisiwe’s burial.
Leonard’s aunt, Betty Chengeta, said she was shocked by her in-laws’ behaviour.
“Siphilisiwe died last week on Tuesday after a short illness. She died at (UBH) United Bulawayo Hospitals after being transferred from Masase. We came to inform our in-laws and we were shocked with their reception as they claimed that they didn’t know us,” said Chengeta.
She said after some deliberations with their in-laws, the Tshabalalas brought a list of demands which they claimed should be paid as lobola.
“They said we never paid lobola and brought a list to us at the gate of their homestead.
“We were not allowed to enter the homestead yet Leonard and his wife always visited them. The list they gave us is of that person who has never met his in-laws yet we’re known here. They made demands totalling $5,500. They refused to accept cattle, saying we should sell them and bring cash,” she said.
Leonard’s brother, Edwin Sayi, said: “They refused to let us bury our daughter-in-law at her husband’s homestead yet they’ve been staying together all along. What we’ve seen here has never been heard of in this part of the country. We’ve heard about this in areas such as Masvingo but not from Matabeleland.”
He said after they finished paying the lobola they will demand Siphilisiwe’s grave to be moved to Zvishavane.
“We’ll make sure that we pay all their demands. But after that we will require that our daughter-in-law’s grave be moved to our rural home. We wonder how they’ll do that,” said Edwin.
Siphilisiwe’s father, Rhodes Tshabalala, said he demanded lobola as his in-laws had only paid isivula mlomo/chivhura muromo.
“I didn’t demand that they pay the whole lobola. I gave them a list of demands after consulting with my envoys, among them Zikhali. We didn’t say they pay all lobola demands at once, that’s why we’re burying her today. I just wanted them to pay something to show their commitment to paying lobola,” said Tshabalala.
He said he made the drastic decision after realising that after his daughter’s death, his in-laws were unlikely to pay anything.
“They married each other while they were still very young. So I allowed him to stay with my daughter but since then they’ve never shown any interest in paying lobola.
“However, even after being settled financially and acquiring a job as a nurse, he (Leonard) never paid anything. He kept making empty promises,” Tshabalala said.
He said what pained him more is that his in-laws did not communicate his daughter’s illness until after her death.