Bride Price = Slavery ‘Mamboleo’?


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I pose the question today: Is Bride Price/Dowry a ‘cute’ ‘fomantic’ form of slavery mamboleo?

I was listening to Jalang’o and Larry today on Kiss FM and they were discussing the topic. I was very surprised that within the period I was listening, which was about an hour, the time it takes me to prepare most mornings, I only heard one woman call. All the rest were men. And all of them were saying that bride price is determined by bla bla bla. My issue here is not how one determines the amount to give, (they went on and on about how it is determined by the age, beauty, schooling, beauty, etc etc bla bla bla fishcake!) but about whether or not it is right to pay dowry.

The way I think, I usually try to look at an issue on both sides. Let me see what I can come up with:

1. It is one way for the man to appreciate the parent(s) of the wife-to-be for taking good care of her. Okay, but what about the man? How come no one appreciates his parent(s)?

2. It gives the woman a sense of pride in herself knowing that she is of value to the man. Of value? So she’s a commodity you pick from the shelves in the local market?

3. It is our culture. Well, we’ve had so many other cultures that we’ve left because they have become either irrelevant or harmful or something else. Its not a valid argument.

Okay, I could go on but honestly, I am just not for bride price or dowry. I just don’t think its right. No matter how someone justifies it to me, I will still see it as a transaction. Cash for bride. Jalang’o was even comparing it to getting a really good car from the showroom. Cash for car. No difference. The way I see it, it is just a ticking time bomb. And we have witnessed such scenarios before. Where the man says “Woman, you belong to me! I bought you for Ksh.XXXX. That’s your worth!” Or the vice versa, “Wewe mwanaume unaringia nani na tunajua ulitoa ng’ombe tano tu ndio unioe! Ebu nikome!”

My 5 cents.

9 Responses to “Bride Price = Slavery ‘Mamboleo’?”

  1. coloseum Says:

    why should i pay for a lady who has clearly stated she wants to be with me?

  2. amarieadhis Says:

    “1. It is one way for the man to appreciate the parent(s) of the wife-to-be for taking good care of her. Okay, but what about the man? How come no one appreciates his parent(s)?”

    I think this is what’s wrong with society today. There’s a difference between a man and a woman. Period. You keep taking away what a man’s responsibilities are and you end up with a bunch of boys trying to be men. The girl does enough appreciating when she moves into their home and helps hold things down in terms of helping at family functions and at mother-in-law’s home. You will never see the man helping out in his mother-in-law’s kitchen…

    I’m not saying that dowry should be as ridiculous as they are right now. What I’ve seen with most of my friends, the couple sit down and discuss what the man can afford so you don’t end up in marriage with joint debt. If you’re objecting to the ridiculously high dowry prices, I’m all the way with you. But keep in mind that dowry was there for a reason. In my culture, dowry is paid throughout one’s lifetime. Every time you go visit in-laws, you bring a little something. It was just something small to keep family ties going… #mytwocents

  3. savvykenya Says:

    One word, culture. A long time ago, the girl would leave the parents’ home and go live with her husband. So in this case, it was the husband’s family that ‘gained’ hence bride price.

    Yes, culture changes. But over time… and bride price culture is dying out slowly. Besides it’s not thaaat harmful/dangerous really. It will still be around for a few years to come.

    If my husband is able, I do not see why he should not pay the bride price. If he is not able.. hmmm..

  4. thegaytekeeper Says:

    Modern day slavery indeed.

  5. pitzevans Says:

    bride price, no matter what your stand is, you can’t win in this argument. For me however, ity ism y humble believe that dowry should be replaced with a gift to the parents, a gift by the man to say thanks for allowing me to marry your daughter. as for compensation for bringing up the girl, kwani u only gave birth to her so that one day you can get dowry?

    • wyndago Says:

      The question is not whether or not paying bride price is right. Those who will pay or have paid bride price are right to do so. Those who don’t pay or think it shouldn’t be paid are also right. This is about tradition, and symbolism. Why do people have to have big wedding ceremonies, why not just go get married and live together or have a small reasonable party? Or, why do married people wear rings? All these things are stupid to me but the things they symbolize are great! So what bride price symbolizes to you, that’s what should be considered and different people see it differently. All are right.

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