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.