If you are to marry any ones daughter, be ready to part with some amount of money and a number of other commodities as bride price (dowry).This will just be as a sign of appreciation to the girl’s parents for having brought her well enough to be your wife. So, goes the argument.
This argument is quite true and it is also in line with the African culture. In most of Africa, you have to part with a number of cows for some nomadic communities, goats, and other commodities before going to live with your sweetheart.
But as time goes by, the idea of bride price is losing meaning to the extent that many young men have started taking bride price as a price tag to facilitate them in owning and treating their partners in any way they wish.
I will take today’s topic on this issue on two platforms. One is the pain bride price has inflicted on women in our society today.
Bride price has inflicted a lot of pain on our sisters today more especially in the villages where paying it will mean full ownership of the woman hence taking her to be some kind of household property.
I have taken a mini-survey on the topic in the country side and the revelations that I came out with are so shocking.
You will find that bride price in these parts of the country are ingredients of domestic violence where a man will beat up his wife while telling her that he bought her from her parents.
Equally the wife will decide to keep quite on the matter for fear of being chased away because she can’t go back to her place of birth since the father fears that the husband will come back and claim what he had paid to the family.
Thus is the situation in which women are being mistreated due to bride price which cannot even feed the bride’s family for a month.
This inhumane treatment of women is caused by the fact that despite many of us just accept this practice because we found it in place, but many men are always grieved by it because it takes them a lot of energy to save for the needed dowry.
The second problem that has come up due to bride price is the escalating number of singles and unmarried young people it has created in our society.
If you look at the number of the rather ripe young men and women who don’t have even a thought of getting married today, you are left wondering what might be the cause.
However, during my tour of the country side, these young people also revealed bride price as the biggest obstacle that is preventing them from getting married on time.
“I have failed to raise the needed amount of money so I can take my wife,” said one Christopher Bizimana recently.
Marriage in the African perspective is very essential because it leads to strengthening of the society because it is through marriage that new members of society are brought fourth.
So, if bride price today is becoming an obstacle to having peaceful families and is also the reason for the escalating numbers of singles in our society, I think we should think twice about it.
In my own view, I think that dowry should be stamped out because it does not contribute in any way to the blossoming of the relationships of the newly married couples, but creates conflict to their future.
I believe that many communities find it very hard to let go of this tradition, but like I have argued in my previous articles, we should learn to let go of demeaning traditions and embrace those that give more value and meaning to our culture.
If women of are to be fully emancipated, they should also stand up and see end to bride price because it is one of the things that is bringing them down and causing them to be under looked.