Bapedi Marriage Customs

Bapedi Marriage Customs

Please review this information or tell us how different bapedi in your region conduct a marriage.

1. A man identifies a woman she wants to marry. He informs his parents, who then inform uncles and aunts. The uncles and aunts gather to discuss the man’s matrimonial intentions. The man gets called up and is screened and counseled. He should insist that he is ready for marriage and prove that he has money/cows for Lobola.

2. His uncles set an appointment to visit the prospective bride’s family to discuss the man’s intentions to marry their daughter (a process idiomatically referred to as ‘Go kgopela sego sa meetse’). The man must provide the uncles with a precise description of how the bride looks like.

3. At first appointment date, the request is usually declined by the prospect’s family with a reason that they do not have any bride available for marriage. [Ga go na sego sa meetse]. They do it on purpose, just to play ‘hard-to-get’.

4. The man’s uncles would visit the prospect’s family once more to discuss the man’s intention to marry their daughter. All daughters, excluding the bride, in that family would then be called up and the uncles of the man would be asked to identify which one from the girls is their prospect. This is to test if the girl had already fornicated or visited the groom’s family before– an act which is forbidden. Should the uncles declare that the prospect is not amongst the girls, they would have to provide reasons why they believe so. Their acceptable reason should be that their prospect is of particular height, complexion, body size and/or even tell of any scar she may have.

5. To further play hard-to-get, the prospect’s family may insist that there is no other single girl in the family and that perhaps those uncles went to the wrong house. In the mean time the prospect could be locked up in the room. The uncles must then provide reasons why they are sure they are at the correct address. They must be persistent… to convince the bride’s family that they really NEED their daughter, and theirs only.

6. The prospect’s family would then call the prospect out of the room. She must be good looking, modestly-dressed and portray the utmost respect as she comes to meet the man’s uncles. They should be impressed. The prospect would then be asked if she knows the visitors. She must not agree with confidence as that would suggest that she pre-dated/fornicated with the man. She can only tell that they LOOK LIKE (man’s name)’s family. After that, the family of the prospect informs the bride that the visitors are sent by (man’s name) to ask for a hand in marriage on his behalf. She is then asked if she accepts. If she declines, another similar visitation is scheduled , to give her time to reconsider. Once she accepts, the uncles are sent back home and are given a date for lobola negotiations. Sometimes the negotiations start off right after the proposal was accepted.

7. Once the lobola negotiations are over, the uncles would give feedback to the man’s family back home on how it all went and how many cows (or how much cash) the bride’s family want as lobola as well as other supplementary gifts. For inter-tribal marriage, different tribes would request different gifts. Normally it’s;

⁃ Lobola (e.g. 3 cows or R20000,00)

⁃ Aunt’s Tobacco or +/- R20,00 instead

⁃ Bride’s Father’s Jacket or +/- R300,00

⁃ Bride’s Mother’s Blanket or +/-R500,00

⁃ Bride’s Mother’s Duke or +/- R50

⁃ Bride’s Blanket+ Duke or +/-R600,00

⁃ Entrance Fees (Matseno) +/- R500

⁃ Rods/Sticks (Real ones. Cannot be substituted by money)

8. The groom’s uncles would also request some gifts. Usualy they need:

⁃ A knife and a coat (Real ones)

⁃ Half of a lamb dipped in boiling water.

9. The man’s parents, uncles and aunts gather together to discuss the lobola date as well as to elect a go-between (mmaditsela) who is to be sent to formally to ask for the bride on that set date. She must be a nice person who’d make the prospect love the proposing family.

10. On the set date, it is [lobola] celebrations at both families. People of the respective villages as well as friends are invited (by default) to come celebrate. No formal invitations, ceremonies are for everyone.

11. At the bride’s home, a lamb is then slaughtered for the groom’s uncles. The bride’s father would eat a lamb’s liver while the uncles eat tripe (mogodu). The half of the lamb’s body (without organs) would be taken home by groom’s uncles after deliberations and the other half remains to be eaten by guests.

12. The groom’s uncles and maditsela are sent to go to the bride’s family with the requested gifts. Upon arrival, they must wait at the gate and they would be welcomed by some light beating, often thrown by dried maize. Then they will be required to pay entrance fees. This one comes from the uncles themselves, not from the groom. The two families would meet and make humble introductions. Then they would exchange gifts as per agreement. The groom’s family would then pay out lobola.

13. If they pay in full, they will be told of the date on which the bride would be handed over to them officialy (This is a date at which people do the white wedding). The uncles may request (with money of course), to go back home with the bride immediately, just to display her to the guests and to return her later (they normaly do not return the bride).

14. The uncles go back home with (or without) the bride and her children if she has some. The uncles then give a full feedback of what had transpired. The bride is seen, and cherished but will be welcomed the day she is brought in officialy.

15. If they do not pay in full, they do not get to have the bride and they will have to come back again to pay off their debt. In this instance, the bride is usually ‘stolen/snatched’ by the groom’s family until they come to pay off the debt. ‘Theft’ charges are normaly required before settling the lobola debt. Theft is more like an “official vat-en-sit.”

16. Then lastly, when a day for official handover has come, a smaller ceremony called ‘go lahla dipatla’ (translated, ‘to bring back the Rods/Sticks’)is done at the groom’s home, not at his own house. The bride would be welcomed on that day and be issued with a new bridal name by the new family. The bride’s family (aunts only) will bring along the following:

⁃ Rods/Stick given to them during gift exchange,

⁃ A sour porridge called ‘ting’,

⁃ An African beer called ‘tshehlana’/ ‘lentsene’

⁃ A groom’s mother’s blanket

⁃ The groom’s knife and coat.

16. After that ceremony, the aunt’s do not go back home. They remain by the groom’s home for a week to do all wifely chores on behalf of the new bride as to teach her how to look after her new family. They would also have to wake up every morning and prepare baths for the old women who would normally come to ‘assess’ the bride’s competency. The old women would teach the bride’s aunts about the culture in the village. The aunt’s must then relay info to the bride.

That almost sums up the whole process of a traditional wedding according to the Bapedi people.

Feel free to comment and ask for clarity.

My name is Mohau Ngoepe. ( Amazon.com/author/mohau )


Tzimtzum; God’s First Act of Humility

In the beginning, God filled the whole emptiness, and when God wanted to Create ‘something’ out of himself to bestow His Light upon, He constricted Himself to a point in the centre to make space/room for creation. This phenomenon is called tzimtzum.

Read more in my recent publication.


There are two things to learn from this;

First, is that God so loved the universe before it even manifested corporeally. After he had modeled it, He saw all was good enough for Him to risk reducing Himself to put it into existence. This demonstrates that love is indeed sacrificial.

Secondly, the act of constricting Himself to a small point in the centre was His first and ultimate act of humility. God was humble enough to reduce Himself in size and position so that something less prominent than Him (supposedly), the universe, can occupy the larger part.

Regarding this kind of humility, I gave an example in my book saying;

” I want you to think about how you would treat a person with a disability. Would you see a need to hate and torture them? Would you feel less prominent if you humbled yourself before such a person? Wouldn’t you feel even greater about yourself if you respected and served them?….
….When one feels great about him or herself in relation to the next person, being humble towards such a person does not become a hassle”.


Evolution: A God’s Creation

In the beginning, God ‘modeled’ the universe in six literal days… and after that, He made an archetype of a human being. He made that human being (Adam-kadmon) in his own likeness; genderless, with both feminine and masculine attributes in him.

Then he drew out feminine attributes (not a rib, detaching a rib is only allegorical speech) from that one man to form 10 vessels, leaving Adam as a male (one male: ten females).
The vessels were living but not as human beings. He filled them with light and energy. But since they were weaker vessels, they shattered all over the void and began to evolve over thousands and thousands of years, bringing forth the whole universe as modeled…with light sparks forming souls while vessel fragments formed all matter. From evolution came the corporeal humans; Adam Ha-Rishon.

This is why the universe is a feminine living being, our Mother [Universe].

… get a detailed story in my latest publication on Amazon titled NowLetUsMakeMan

Man: The Holiest Creation

Mankind’s holiness and godliness is only limited by the fleshly garment he is wearing. Otherwise, he is the holiest and noblest and supreme creation of God the Creator.

Nothing in the universe is more holier and supreme than him; not the temple, not altar, not the religious books, not religious clothing…He is a spark of a divine light in his essence, and all such sparks have one Divine Source and Destiny.

…the weakness of his flesh is the only thing that makes him “a little lower than an angel” (Psalm 8:5). But the angels themselves prostrate to mankind, and find honour in serving him.

It is for this reason that everyone aught to operate outside his flesh…to go against the egoistic needs of the flesh and to operate in the light (the true self), and feed the altruistic needs of the light; which is to look out for the needs of others, equally as one looks out for one’s own. This, must be practiced first at home before it’s extended to the people outside the household.

Order your copy of NowLetUsMakeManhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1693534770/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_UkjLDbKKVQ0TZ

Creation is/was a Process

We really didn’t have to wait for Charles Darwin to tell us that life , or the universe is a product of an evolutional process. http://amazon.com/author/mohau

I do not fully agree with his theories but there is some truth in it.

When we observe the world around us, we realize that everything starts at infancy and mature gradually through a process.

For instance, plants begin as seeds or plantlets. Human beings begin as sperm cells. The growth of both is a journey, an uneasy process.

I would like to believe that through instances such as ones discussed above, God was trying to show us that he created the universe through a well-modeled process, and nothing is really instant.

Delayed gratification, something we need to incorporate in our parenting, helps in developing patience and perseverance. We need to teach our kids that the universe has processes, to bear with and follow processes needed in order to acquire anything gratifying.

Our Lord is a God of processes. Even a miracle itself is a consequence of a particular process; faith…which develops through process.


“The greater you are, the more you need to search for your self. Your deep soul hides itself from consciousness. So you need to increase aloneness, elevation of thinking, penetration of thought, liberation of mind — until finally your soul reveals itself to you, spangling a few sparkles of her lights.

Then you find bliss, transcending all humiliations or anything that happens, by attaining equanimity, by becoming one with everything that happens, by reducing yourself so extremely that you nullify your individual, imaginary form, that you nullify existence in the depth of your self. “What are we?” Then you know every spark of truth, every bolt of integrity flashing anywhere.

Then you gather everything, without hatred, jealousy, or rivalry. The light of peace and a fierce boldness manifest in you. The desire to act and work, the passion to create and to restore yourself, the yearning for silence and for the inner shout of joy — these all band together in your spirit, and you become holy.”

Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook
(Photograph – Rav Kook)

Tzimtzum; God’s First Act of Kindness

In the beginning, God filled the whole emptiness, and when God wanted to Create ‘something’ out of himself to bestow His Light upon, He constricted Himself to a point in the centre to make space/room for creation. This phenomenon is called tzimtzum.

Read more in my recent publication.

There are two things to learn from this;

First, is that God so loved the universe before it even manifested corporeally. After he had modeled it, He saw all was good enough for Him to risk reducing Himself to put it into existence. This demonstrates that love is indeed sacrificial. 

Secondly, the act of constricting Himself to a small point in the centre was His first and ultimate act of humility. God was humble enough to reduce Himself in size and position so that something less prominent than Him (supposedly), the universe, can occupy the larger part.

Regarding this kind of humility, I gave an example in my book saying;

” I want you to think about how you would treat a person with a disability. Would you see a need to hate and torture them? Would you feel less prominent if you humbled yourself before such a person? Wouldn’t you feel even greater about yourself if you respected and served them?….
….When one feels great about him or herself in relation to the next person, being humble towards such a person does not become a hassle”.

Was Jesus Sweet or Harsh?

Nine Harsh Deeds By Jesus

If we say that Jesus is good and perfect, which is by the way a claim He Himself dismissed (Mark 10:18), then our definition of perfect and that of God differ. Look at his words below. If an ordinary person like me said them, I would be labeled a very rude guy. But if the Son of God, or God Himself says them, we turn a blind eye. But Paul says “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”(Philipians 2:5). So from that I think (or wish) we could deal with bad and corrupt people the same way that Jesus dealt with them.

Let’s look at some of the harsh ways he dealt with people and situations.

He calls people “snakes”!! [Matthew 23:33]

Now here Jesus was grinding the Scribes and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. If you read from the first verse of that chapter you will notice how He keeps saying they are fools and blinds. They give people heavy load of laws which they themselves were not following. So He says “You serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? “

He calls His Chief disciple Satan. [ Matthew 16:23]

We all know Peter as the senior apostle. The first disciple. But here, Jesus calls him ‘Satan’. Did Jesus have moods?? Maybe not. He probably said that to rebuke the inspiring Spirit that spoke through Peter. But was it an evil spirit? All Peter was doing was respond to Jesus’ predictions about His death. This is what he said in response to such predictions, which is why he was called ‘Satan’: ” Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!'”  Did I tell you that this was right after Jesus said Peter is “The Rock” upon which a church would be established?? Now He is Satan…!!

He is riotous in the Temple [ Matthew 21:13]

Jesus did not tolerate nonsense! Well, God doesn’t tolerate nonsense. So it happened after He made the prophesied triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, that He went into the Temple, pulled out a whip and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. Saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” If you can do that today you will be called an enemy to the kingdom.

He calls Herod a “fox” [ Luke 13:32]

So some Pharisees came threatening him saying , “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.” Guess what He said to them? “Go, tell that FOX, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’

He called a human being a ‘fox’!!

He tells people they are of the Devil. [ John 8:44]

Some Jews were claiming they are of Abraham but Jesus insisted that If they really were of Abraham they would do what Abraham would do and not the opposite. He told them of how un-abrahamic they were for they killed the prophets and would in the same way kill Him because they could not accept His message. So says to them ” You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. “

“You are concealed tombs” [ Luke 11:44]

This is one of those misinterpreted passages. People use it to say that Jesus declared all food clean and not defiling. But He was actually solely talking about the washing of hands. Here Jesus was dining with a pharisee who marveled because He had not first washed His hands.

So Jesus being THAT GUY, called him a fool for ‘cleaning the outside of the cup while the inside (heart) is dirty’. He kept on rebuking harshly saying that they are like concealed tombs upon which men who walk over are not aware of.

He referred to gentiles as “dogs” [ Matthew 15:26]

This poor gentile woman goes to Jesus and say, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” He ignores her at first until his disciples pleaded with him to chase her away. Then He says to her, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, humbly saying, “Lord, help me!” . But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” YOH!!!

But faith has perseverance and persistence right? So the gentile woman replies: “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”

 Then Jesus says, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Phew!! Finally! But He called her a ‘little dog’.

He rejects his own biological family [ Matthew 12:46-49]

It is very evident throughout the Gospels that Jesus never really gave due recognition to His biological family. We hear less about them. He seems to have not even been sleeping home at all. Theonly time I see Jesus being a family guy was at the cross when He told John that Mary is his mother and to Mary that John is her son. Otherwise, we see him reject his mother and brother when they came to speak to him. When someone said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”, He answered and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers? ” He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers” . Look, we do not know what they wanted to tell Him. Maybe it was an important matter or a report…but He gave them no chance. Maybe because being the Christ, He already knew what they wanted to tell him…but to human eye, rejecting family in public like that is not acceptable.

” Let the dead bury their own dead” [ Luke 9:60]

I wonder what Jesus meant by those words. He said this to a person who wanted to follow him but had to go and bury his father first. Was there anything wrong with such a request?! He did not say he didn’t want to follow Jesus. He wanted to settle a family matter first. But he says “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”  Technically, He refers to this guy ‘s family as ‘the dead’ who should bury ‘their dead’!! This sounds like an insult. Imagine if you told someone the same thing today…?! Exactly!!

So should we imitate Jesus?  The scripture says Yes (1 Peter 2:21)!! But would you imitate Him?!

Who Heard Jesus’ Prayer at Gethsemane?

According to the synoptic gospels (Mark 14& Matthew 26) , Jesus had went with three of his disciples (Peter, John and James) to a place called Gethsemane.

On arrival he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray…my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” On his return, he found the disciples sleeping.

I have three questions regarding this part;

1. If he went away from them to pray, how did they (or anyone) hear him make those utterances as quoted?

2. Assuming he was loud enough to be heard from a distance, or that he did not go too far to be unheard , how did they hear him if they were sleeping as the verse tells us?

3. Thirdly, Mark, Matthew and Luke are the ones telling this story, but they weren’t with Jesus at Gethsemane. The three people who were there (especially John as he also wrote a Gospel) do not tell us about those transpirations.

Did that incident really happen??

Who Actually Died On The Cross?

Who Actually Died On The Cross?

On a serious note, who was the man on the cross? Who got crucified? This sounds like an irrelevant question to ask but I am still a little perplexed. I wanted to write this article a week ago, but I waited to see if I cannot find an answer to this question.

All four gospels concur that Jesus Christ was crucified, died on the cross and was resurrected on a third day. Even if we chose not to go with Mark’s gospels for obvious reasons, John concurs too. The first three gospels also tell us that Jesus cried and prayed hard that He not be crucified; 

(Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42, Mathew 26:38-39) “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Now here is the troubling issue, Hebrews 5:7 kind of suggests that Jesus prayer to be spared from death was answered; “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and HE WAS HEARD of his reverent submission.”

Commonly, when one says God heard a prayer, they would be implying that it was answered. Otherwise, how would they be so sure the prayer was heard if nothing has happened after the prayer? Logic! So we can conclude that according to Hebrews 5:7 God answered Jesus’ prayer to spare His life.

A concurrence is found in the Holy Quran 4: 157 “And [for] their saying, ‘Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .’ And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.”

Another concurrence is in the Gospel of Barnabas. A writing which was omitted when the Bible was compiled. According to gospel of Barnabas, the chief priests and pharisees believed Judas Iscariot was Jesus, who wanted to escape death but betraying the wrong (innocent) person (the real Jesus in this case). So they crucified him (Judas) instead.

So then, we have the three Gospels telling us Jesus prayed to have His life spared, and book of Hebrews from the Bible saying that prayer was answered. We also have the Holy Quran and the Gospel of Barnabas concurring that Jesus was NOT the Man who got crucified.

The Gospel of John however, makes no mention of Jesus praying that His life be spared. According to the other three gospels (Mathew, Mark & Luke), the writer of the fourth Gospel, (St John) was there at Gethsemane when Jesus made such a prayer. But how is it that John, having seen and heard Jesus make that cry, never mentions it?? In John 18:11 Jesus sounds like someone who DEMANDS TO BE CRUCIFIED..

I choose to go with John ‘s gospels because

  • He is an eyewitness to all transpirations as the other gospel writers attest,
  • He was Jesus favourite disciple.
  • The other three gospels seem to have added a lot of spice on to the Good News and were written by non-eyewitnesses
  • The Gospel of Barnabas lacks authenticity.
  • The Holy Quran was authored by an illiterate prophet, who would not by any means verify that His scribes wrote what he told them.

John says Jesus wanted to be crucified and He was crucified. THAT’S IT

From Saul The Pharisee To Paul The Apostle

From Saul The Pharisee To Paul The Apostle

I like making a point that Paul is the chief founder of Christianity. His very epistles contain doctrines preached by mainstream Christianity today. We know Paul as Saul who was a pharisee working with the Jewish priests to execute every follower of Jesus. But in the book of Acts, there are stories about Saul being converted to Paul, being made an apostle for the gentiles. Luke, as considered to be the author of the book of Acts, is inconsistent with the conversion stories. But there is a high chance that Luke was told by Paul himself, of the conversion account. We can never be sure.

Paul himself says nothing about a conversion on the road to Damascus, whereas the book of Acts by Luke, has three accounts:

In Acts 9:3-8, Paul was blinded by a light and fell down, then heard Jesus, who told him that he would be told what to do when he gets to, Damascus. His men did not see the light, but they heard the voice. They remained standing.

2. In Acts 22:6-11, Paul told the people he was blinded by the light and fell down. He then heard Jesus who told him that he would be told what to do when he gets to Damascus. This time, his men saw the light but, were not blinded, and did NOT hear the voice.

3. In Acts 26.13-19, Paul told Agrippa that he saw a brilliant light and heard Jesus, who gave him his mission…but didn’t tell him to go to Damascus. He fell down, but there is no mention of blindness, nor is there any mention of the men seeing or hearing anything. He told those at Damascus and Jerusalem about this conversion experience.


I do not like Paul very much because most what he teaches is against God and Jesus’ very teachings.

For instance, do the following scripture comparisons;

1. Exodus 20:8 vs Romans 14:5

2. Genesis 17:12 vs Galatians 5:6

3. Leviticus 11 vs Romans 14:20

4. John 13:34 vs Ephesians 2:15 & Colossians 2:14

5. John 13:34 vs Romans 12:10

But I have to be honest in my judgment.

If Paul told all the church people about this experience, as described in Acts 22:6-11, and also told King Agrippa a similar story, recounted in Acts 26:13-19, then we could expect him to be consistent when writing to Galatians.

Yet In Galatians 1:16  he mentions “To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:”. Note that Paul says that God revealed his Son “in me,” not “to me” (although some translations do incorrectly give this as “to me”). The significance of this is that for Paul, the revelation was not an external vision or appearance but a revelation.

So now, can we trust the writer in the book of Acts? Maybe not. Or if we do, then Paul is a liar.

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