PLEASE HELP: I have US$3,500 – should I pay lobola for my girlfriend or start a tuckshop business?


Dear Aunty Lisa,

I hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits. I am writing to seek your wise counsel on a matter that has been weighing heavily on my mind. I find myself in a dilemma, torn between two significant choices, and I believe your guidance will help me make the right decision.

You see, Aunty Lisa, I currently have US$3,500 at my disposal, and I am uncertain about how to best utilize this sum. On one hand, my girlfriend and I have been together for a considerable period of time, and I am considering paying lobola (bride price) for her. It is a cultural tradition in our community, and it signifies my commitment and respect for her and our relationship. However, paying lobola requires a substantial financial investment.

On the other hand, I have been contemplating starting a tuckshop business. I have always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, and this seems like a promising opportunity. With the initial capital of US$3,500, I could potentially establish a small but sustainable business that could provide me with a steady income and help support my future aspirations.

Aunty Lisa, I find myself torn between these two options. On one hand, paying lobola would show my love and commitment to my girlfriend, and it is an important cultural practice. On the other hand, starting a tuckshop business could provide financial stability and fulfil my entrepreneurial dreams. I am unsure which path to choose, and I am afraid of making the wrong decision.

I humbly request your guidance, Aunty Lisa. Your wisdom and experience have always been a source of inspiration for me. Considering the circumstances, which option do you believe would be the wiser choice? Should I prioritize paying lobola for my girlfriend or invest in starting a tuckshop business? I trust your judgment and eagerly await your advice.

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter, Aunty Lisa. Your guidance means the world to me, and I am grateful for your support.

With love and respect,



Aunty Lisa responds:

My Dear George

Thank you for reaching out to me and sharing your dilemma. I understand that choosing between paying lobola for your girlfriend or starting a tuckshop business is a significant decision, and I’m honoured that you seek my advice.

Firstly, let me acknowledge the importance of cultural traditions and the significance of paying lobola. It symbolizes your commitment to your girlfriend and your respect for your relationship. If you believe that paying lobola aligns with your values and the values of your partner, it could be a meaningful step towards solidifying your bond. However, it’s essential to consider the financial implications and ensure that you have a solid plan for managing your finances after the payment.

On the other hand, starting a tuckshop business can be an exciting entrepreneurial venture. It offers the potential for financial stability and the opportunity to pursue your dreams. However, it also comes with its own set of challenges and risks. Before diving into entrepreneurship, thoroughly research the market, assess the competition, and develop a solid business plan. Ensure that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to run a successful tuckshop. Starting a business requires dedication, hard work, and a long-term vision.

Ultimately, the decision between paying lobola and starting a tuckshop business depends on your priorities and long-term goals. Take some time to reflect on what matters most to you. Consider your relationship with your girlfriend, your aspirations for the future, and the financial implications of both options.

It may be helpful to discuss these options openly and honestly with your girlfriend. Share your thoughts, concerns, and dreams with her. A healthy and supportive relationship is built on open communication and understanding. Together, you can evaluate what option aligns best with your shared values and plans for the future.

Finally, remember that life is a journey, and sometimes we face difficult choices. Trust yourself and your ability to make the best decision for your circumstances. Seek advice from trusted friends, family, and mentors who know you well and can provide valuable insights.

I wish you the best of luck, George. May your decision bring you happiness, fulfilment, and success, whatever path you choose.

With warm regards,

Aunty Lisa

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