“In the good old days, the traditional ‘rusambo’ was a gift of cattle. Today that can be quite daunting for the groom to be – where, how and who does one get to find, look at, buy and transport the cattle to the bride’s family? Does the bride’s family have the capacity to keep and look after the animals? Can you trust the person doing the buying, especially if you are living on the other side of the planet?”
This is a problem that RLMS, a Zimbabwean online cattle auction service, say they have found a solution for. Short for Remote Livestock Marketing System, RLMS launched last year in March and went on to win the ZOL Jumpstart Challenge startup competition in September last year. When they won last year, founder Allister Banks, indicated they were looking into providing a solution for people needing to buy Lobola cattle via the website. Today, the startup announced the additional service on their website and Twitter.
Lobola is basically Bride price, money and (in Southern Africa) cattle paid by a groom to his bride’s family when he marries her. Sometimes a groom can just pay the cash value of the cattle but sometimes the bride’s family insists on live cattle which presents the problem described by RLMS above. Those looking for Lobola cattle can just registering on the site and go through the cattle on offer look up their particulars and start bidding on the website.
According to the announcement, customers that have nowhere to put the cattle immediately can have their newly bought beasts kept at RLMS’s partner farms where they are looked after and monitored by RLMS for a monthly fee.