A People's History of South Africa: Gold and Workers
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In black societies, 'cattle were used for religious ceremonies and also for lobola, which was an important part of the economy. Lobola. was an exchange of cattle for a fruitful marriage. If the This volume is the first in wife proved infertile, her family would be obliged to give in marriage a second daughter. Lobola also enabled the bride's brothers in turn to afford the lobola for marriage and children themselves. Lobola circulated wealth and helped to build up the population and labour power of the family. A man's wealth and power were therefore measured by his cattle. Because of people's close ties to the land. in subsistence society, it was important to have enough labour to work it. More labour produced more food. This labour came from the family. Families in subsistence societies were large they usually consisted of the father, his wives and children, plus any unmarried relatives who might be needing a home. The members of the family worked together to produce their basic needs. They shared many of the daily tasks. At the same time, each member of the family had his or her own job. The women would usually grow the food and prepare it. They also raised the children. The older girls helped the adult women in their tasks. The men hunted and supervised the older boys, training them to look after the animals. In time, a man became the head of a family, with a duty to protect it in times of danger.