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African Customary Marriages

When Africans marry, they can choose to marry by African customary law (traditional customs) OR by the ordinary civil law of the land. An African customary marriage takes place without a civil marriage officer. The families agree on the lobola or bride-price. The ceremony takes place after the man’s family has paid all or part of the lobola.

The Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998, which came into effect on 15 November 2000, gives full legal recognition to customary marriages. If you got married before the Act came into effect, your marriage will still have legal recognition and protection if it complies with the customary law and was still in existence after the implementation of the Act. If your spouse died or you got divorced before the Act came into force, your marriage is not protected by this Act. 

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