Bride price: Sale of woman or sign of love?


Bride price: Sale of woman or sign of love?

African cultures may be as diverse as day and night but one aspect that cuts across is payment of bride price before a wedding.

However, this tradition that has existed for ages has been increasingly criticized across the continent.

According to VOA, critics opine that it degrades women by putting a monetary value on a wife.

People are increasingly condemning the practice arguing over the perceived material value that is put on women during negotiation between the family of the bride and that of the groom before marriage.

Fiyabuna Penuel, a counselor,  also posits that the increasing disdain for the practice could be attributed to the vain commercial venture that it has become.

In the past, she says, dowry payment was a matter of expressing appreciation and was accomplished by presenting even the simplest of gifts that one could afford: money was not a factor.

In modern times however, the situation has changed and paying bride price has become booming business.

Some families are said to take advantage of their future in laws by forcing them to dig deeper into their pockets.

The situation is so dire that some are forced to even take bank loans.

In Nigeria, a girl set herself on fire when it became apparent that her boyfriend could not afford to pay a bride price of 17,000 Naira (Ksh. 4,818).

Those for the practice however maintain that bride price brings honor to both homes.

Dr Agatha Ukata, an African Literature scholar, insists that radical feminist ideology and inaccurate perception from the West is to blame for materialism.

The payment of bride price, Ukata says is not the sale of a woman but a sign of love.

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Story By Duncan Mutwiri
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