Society Debate: Should a woman contribute to her own bride price?

No! Culture is culture In the olden times, bride price, also known as “dowry” was exactly as you hear it—a price. In simple terms, women were treated as commodities that were bought by men to be wives.

No! Culture is culture

In the olden times, bride price, also known as “dowry” was exactly as you hear it—a price. In simple terms, women were treated as commodities that were bought by men to be wives.

African parents prayed to their gods that they would produce as many girls as possible, so that they exchange them in marriage for a vast amount of wealth.

On the hind side, parents cursed the idea of producing only boys because it meant that they would have to part with a lot of their wealth when their sons desired to marry.

When a girl left her parent’s home, she would never return under any circumstances; be it that her husband was violent, a drunkard or impotent. She was regarded as her husband’s property and he alone determined her fate, sadness or happiness.

If she got fade up and decided to return home, either her parents would force her back or she would have to bear with the lifelong misery of communal rejection. Concisely, that is generally the picture that bride price painted during the era of our great grandfathers.

Times have changed now; women are equal to men, as it should be left that way. And bride price is more of a harmless customary routine than a must-practice tradition. A man doesn’t give bride price as a sign of buying a wife, but rather, as a demonstration of respect to traditional customs.

Another modern but important change in the aspect of bride price is that it reflects a man’s ability; not necessarily his entire capabilities, but it is a sign that he is at least financially capable of giving good care to his family.

Therefore, when a woman contributes to her bride price, she only serves to dilute the noble motive behind the practice. Such behavior is tasteless and offers no reason, save for indicating that the man is indeed incapable to even perform a simple task as giving dowry.

A man must not be restrained or feel pressured about the demands of bride price, he is supposed to look forward and offer it with joy. The bride’s parents should also not ask for more than what the man can afford to give. If they do, they are shoving us back into the olden times where women were regarded as property.

There’s no need for a man to acquire bank loans just to pay bride price, let alone soliciting help from his wife-to-be! The issue here is; why would he go to such lengths to fulfill something that is a simple customary act? Most probably, he still believes that bride price will buy him a woman, and that he must pay as much as possible to gain respect from his in-laws!

Women must know that bride price is not a sign of purchasing them. Regardless of whether they think they are too in love to let the man ‘suffer’ alone, they should be in position to understand the value of culture and respect their husband’s roles as well.

mugishaivan@newtimes.co.rw
@RushAfrican on Twitter

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