A SOFTWARE developer in Johannesburg has taken the time-honoured African tradition of paying a bride price into the tech age. He designed an app to calculate the woman’s value.
Anyone weighing up whether to ask for a woman’s hand can enter her stats into 26-year-old Kopo Robert Matsaneng’s Lobola Calculator and it churns out her value in rands, and tells you how many cows that would equate to.
The price can also be converted into pounds, euros and dollars on the app.
The app considers the person’s age, height, weight, waist size, and how attractive they are: ranging from “not at all” to “really hot”.
The prospective groom must also enter what qualifications the woman has, whether she has a job, whether she’s been married before and whether she’s got children.
“This is a fun app to calculate how much lobola you’re worth,” Matsaneng says in the app’s introduction. “It’s simple, fun and meant to be playful, so enjoy.”
Lobola is a tradition practised in many parts of Africa, where a man’s family approaches a woman’s relatives to propose marriage and to negotiate a bride price.
The custom symbolises a coming together of the two families. Lobola was historically paid in livestock, a symbol of wealth, but now it often includes other goods and money.
While most users liked the app, some objected that it was not in tune with the true value of lobola, Matsaneng said on the app’s site. “Some people are already too angry about the concept,” he responded to queries requesting more valuation criteria, such as cooking and alcohol intake.
The app also maps out the average lobola values in South Africa’s different provinces as well as in Lesotho and Swaziland. The highest is R100 000, or 12 cows, in Lesotho and Swaziland. The lowest is R35 000, or 5 cows, in the South Africa’s arid Northern Cape province.
Matsaneng said he created the app because he doesn’t want his friends to be “ripped off”. He later added that the app was created in jest.
But, his app has garnered great interest, with a range of different reactions from reviewers.
nWhy am I worth seven cows qha? Lol love this app never,” commented one app reviewer on Google Play. [sic]
Another said: “Rubbish If u going to make this, at least put effort, just 3 questions , there is countless questions and scenarios u can include, can the lady cook, fetch water, how much she earns, is she a princess or commoner, what ethnicity, how many kids, still a virgin or not, with only 3 questions, it quickly runs out, and not fun, after 2 minutes there is nothing to do with it, waste of data…..” [sic]
Still another added: “Fun app Had some good laughts with the app calculating our family worth. Thanks for taking the time out to make it!” [sic]
The Lobola Calculator is available as a free download on both iOS and Blackberry app stores. – Bloomberg