Lindsay's Life

Embracing Mr’s Culture: Magadi Negotiations


I met Mr almost six years ago at our office kitchen. This wasn’t the first time I saw him though – it was like the Universe was nudging us towards each other for months prior to our meeting. I was studying advertising at the time and came across some magazines where he’d been interviewed among my research clippings. He had caught my eye initially, because of his good looks. Then he captured my mind with his intelligence and measured answers. I shouldn’t have expected anything less from a strategist. His confidence when leading a client meeting is still attractive to me today. So when we eventually met I knew exactly who he was and he didn’t know who I was, but he claimed I looked familiar. This is probably, because he saw a belly dancer in Beirut that looked suspiciously like me.


I didn’t consider how far this relationship would go or what would be expected from me culturally. His family is not overtly traditional or cultural, but they observe certain traditions – many of which I’ve participated in and enjoyed over the years. There wasn’t any expectation of me when we had our son in 2013, but when we got engaged earlier this year we knew a certain amount of cultural weight will be attached to the union.

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Mr honored my culture by asking my parents for my hand in marriage before he proposed and they gave their blessings.

He proposed at his parents’ home in the Northern Cape on January the 1st. Then his family began the magadi process.

Magadi or lobola is when a prospective husband’s family undertakes to give a gift of money (or cows) to the head of a prospective wife’s family in consideration of a customary marriage.

His uncle wrote a letter to my parents to request a meeting to pay magadi. My parents accepted the date and time then we made arrangements with my uncles to be present at the negotiations.

This was a non-traditional magadi negotiation, because my family is not familiar with the culture so it was more of a meet and greet between the families.


I was extremely nervous and anxious the day of the negotiations. I hoped that everything would go smoothly. They opened with a prayer and stated their intentions and reason for meeting with my family. My family accepted the gift and I was able to join them to meet with my in-laws.

We had an early lunch and spoke for a long while. It was amazing to see the two families getting along so well. I know this won’t be the first time that we all get together, but I’m so grateful and happy that our first meeting went well.


For more on how a traditional magadi is performed read this article.

I’m glad that we were able to blend two families and cultures so seamlessly. Now we just have to plan the white and traditional weddings.

Do you and your partner come from different cultures or religions? What are your tips for embracing each others culture or religion? Let me know by commenting below!

Love and Blessings,


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