RE: “This thing called dowry” (The New Times, May 8).
Dear Bella Bora,
In Rwandan culture, dowry was not supposed to be what it is today. It was supposed to be “impozamarira” but not really something to benefit from. Dowry was supposed to be one cow given to the bridegroom’s family. A heifer given birth by that cow was supposed to be given to the man’s family, basically replacing that cow.
The dowry you have discussed above can be explained by two things: Greed and boasting. But you cannot really blame those who are asking for more cows for various reasons as they are not the ones who started it all. It was started by rich men who wanted to prove they were rich enough to be able to look after their bride properly, thus setting the standard that has slowly been embraced by everybody including the have-nots.