How the Lobola Calculator for iPhone Works

In early 2015 social media networks were abuzz as people used the “Lobola App.” Lobola is a form of payment that is offered by the groom’s family to the bride’s family in traditional African weddings in various South African cultures. 

It is often regarded as the “bride price” and varies from place to place in South Africa and among different tribes. In South Africa, the average is twelve cows.

Lobola was traditionally paid in livestock (cows), but modern urban families use cash.

Developed by Robert Matsaneng, the “Lobola App” is based on the lobola tradition and calculates the “bride price”, “bride gift” or “bride worth”.

The app requests the user’s age, height, weight and waist size and asks them to rate their attractiveness on a scale of “not at all” to “really hot”. Calculations are based on a woman’s educational qualifications, their job and whether they have been married before or have children.

At the end of the questionnaire, you are able to find out how many cows you are worth, in livestock and in Rands.

The developer told Fin24: 

“I developed the app for mainly laughs actually. I think it’s a fun exercise and that people who are not part of the culture can get a taste and perhaps want to know more about the culture. I did not develop it to replace the culture in any way.”

While the app drew a range of reactions from users, some found it offensive and called it “sexist”.

Another developer, Vusi Mbongo created his own version, calling it the “Lobola Calculator” because “he and his friend thought poorly of Matsaneng’s version,” he told Moneyweb.

The Lobola Calculator for iPhone is a simple app. Users enter the groom’s wealth- gauging details separately. Then the bride’s details are entered.

Mbongo says the Lobola Calculator for iPhone is more accurate because lobola depends on the circumstances of both individuals.  Mbongo says the price should ultimately depend on whether the men can afford it.

The Lobola Calculator for iPhone is available on the App store.


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