The economic crisis in Zimbabwe has affected marriages as most young men delay marriages. With an unemployment rate of 90% Zimbabweans are finding it hard to raise Lobola money or to even think of getting married. Back in the early 90s when the economy was at it’s peak many were marrying at ages just above 20 years soon after completing University but all has changed now as men in their 30s are still single with no plans of starting a family. Brian Mutsvairo of Chegutu blames the economy for his delay in settling down. ‘In February 2020 i will be 32 and i can tell you am no where near getting married not in the next two years at least. The situation is hard what will i give the wife and kids as i have no formal job and do cross border trading?’. Brian explained how hard it was as his ex girlfriend was giving him pressure to marry a situation which eventually led to the break up.
The situation is even dire for ladies who have a shorter biological clock as compared to their male counterparts. In the short survey done in Zimbabwe, South Africa, UK and other parts of Europe we come across many frustrated ladies who blamed both the economy and culture for the delay in marriages. The issue of men having to pay Lobola is said to be the biggest enemy to marriage. Ruvimbo from Mufakose said it was not fair to expect a man to save up to $2000 for Lobola when the economy is down. ‘I am 30 this year my boyfriend is educated but runs a small shop which is battling, how can the same person then be required to raise Lobola money to marry me? We should get married without Lobola or i will be a Gogo Ruvimbo soon’. Ruvimbo believes cultural norms also make it hard as ladies are not allowed to ask a guy out or when he will marry, ‘these are some of the things that work against us as a lady i have to wait for a guy to come to me and if no one comes tough luck’.
Zimbabwean ladies based in South Africa blame less on the economy but competition from South Africa ladies. South Africa is home to over a million Zimbabweans with most in professional jobs a situation which pushes them into middle income earners and more better off than those back home. Despite the better disposable income Zimbabwean men have shifted their attention to lacal girls leaving Zimbabwe ladies to deal with Nigerians. Zimbabwean men are wanted as most local girls see them as soft, understanding and caring as compared to local ones. Nhlanhla says she found Zimbabweans easy to be with, ‘I have been dating Ngoni for 3 years now and we are getting married in March 2020 his a great guy and someone I would want to have a future with’. Nhlanhla said she is not worried about where they will live so long it will be a stable country wether SA or Zim. Most locals have often accused Zimbabweens of stealing their ladies an issue which also caused Xenophobia attacks.
The story is the same for Zimbabweans in Europe with recent reports claiming ladies in United Kingdom are being forced to import men from Zimbabwe. Those with the financial muscle are dating guys in Zimbabwe via social networks and eventually move the him to Europe. Samantha said there is nothing wrong if the lady can afford it and the guy is happy. ‘It is every lady’ s dream to get married, settle down and have kids. If the lady loves the guy then she can get him here it is perfectly fine than get to age of 35 and still single busy going out and taking stress away with wine’. Zimbabweans who moved to countries like Norway, Germany etc are finding it harder to date as there are few blacks in those countries and hard to settle down with a white guy.