One day I asked My Father how much he was planning to make off of me with Bride price.
Thank God he was offended by the question and he said;
“If I was selling, I would be looking for market by now.“
He told me to think of it as more of an appreciation than a price. But I felt like if negotiation is going to happen than it was a transaction. He said some families these days don’t ask for anything and simply tell the grooms side to appreciate the girl. But that is so hard because then you can be judged by what you bring. That will show how much a man values(prices) his soon to be wife. And you can’t put a price on a woman. He told me;
“Culture takes time to grow and takes time die.”
Meanwhile one of my uncles recently told me I lost value because I got pregnant out of wedlock. “We have lost some cows” his words.
Any way Let’s get into
My Old Man’s tales 2
Papa said back in the day most marriages were planned by Parents. When a family had a friendship with another, they would betroth their kids to each other. The girl from a young age would be marked with a rope on her leg from the back of the “Azaka” tree, and then the families would exchange gifts as the kids grew up. When they got of age then the negotiations on bride price would begin. Bride price was determined by
- Status of the families
- The behaviour of the girl
- If the girl was virgin
- And when education was introduced, the level of education of the girl was added to the weighing scale
The negotiations started from 6 cows and could go as far as 20 especially if the girl was educated. The ceremony would last for over a week and during that, other bookings (betrothals) would happen.
In the event a boy picks interest in a girl, he would inform his parents who on approval of the girls family would visit to bring in the intentions of their son. The girls family would then start an investigation on the other family’s background, behaviour et al depending on the girls family values. If they liked what they saw then the NEGOTIATIONS would begin.
It got hostile in the event a rowdy boy was interested and the girl was not. The boy and his buddies would gang up and kidnap the girl then lock her in the room with the boy and he would rape her. (papa said they would meet each other in that room. But given the circumstances, those girls were raped not met with) All this while the boys are outside chanting and singing while preparing a cock given by the “rapist” to grace the event. They made noise so that no one would hear the girl scream.
This sometimes would lead to serious fights between families, and if the rapist is lucky it would end up in a NEGOTIATION, he would pay a fine of one bull for taking her virginity and a heifer if she got pregnant.
Those are some of the customs around traditional marriage among the Lugbara people in the West Nile region of Uganda.
The bride price conversation is depressing and yet even when I feel like I am being sold, the thought of my man spending some money to prove how much I mean to him makes me happy. I am confused. I guess I will settle for APPRECIATION and close my eyes to the NEGOTIATIONS.
Or maybe we could elope?
To preserve the Dowry and Bride Price culture or to let it die? Let me know in the comments..
Benjamin Watch has an insightful take on bride price on A daughter for a son cost.
It’s day 16 of 22
Tomorrow because I have dreamed of myself in a wedding dress all my life, it’s going to be a runway on here. My wedding dress Gallery.
Be kind, be humble, spread love.