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Two bottles of alcohol

In my tribe, customary marriage involves the man's family presenting two bottles of schnapps, an amount of money known as the bride price, and a few other items to the woman's family. Presentation of a Holy Bible and a ring are Christian additions which may be skipped. The intention of the bride price is often to set the woman up in a trade to make her independent financially to support the home. The groom may present a small amount of money to the in-laws as compensation for bringing up a wonderful daughter into a wife.

In modern times, a woman's family may present the "groom" with a list of items to present at the customary marriage event. One of the lists I saw some time ago made me cringe with fear: a bride price of US$4,000, a laptop computer, and 12 half-pieces of Holland wax prints among 13 items on the list. Her father and uncles wanted to get rich on the bride's back - practically offer her on sale. The question is whether such a bride is on sale like a slave or foodstuffs to be given away for such an amount? Paying a heavy bride price gives some husbands the idea that the bride has been bought. This is one of the reasons why some men batter, insult and neglect their wives.

When the Women's Manifesto for Ghana was being completed in 2004, the issue of bride price came up for discussion. Some women reasoned that no more bride price should be paid so that men would not consider their wives as goods. Others argued that in patrilineal tribes where the women pay the "groom price" women are still abused (in Indian, brides pay the groom price and still get burned). The bottom line is that some men really do not value their wives in any way; not because the women cost two bottles of schnapps and some money. What we all need to understand is that whether a man pays the bride price for a woman or not, a wife is neither a slave nor a piece of property.

A wife is worth more than two bottles of alcohol and certainly worth more than any amount of money we could imagine. Your wife is precious; treasure her and you will be her treasure.




Dando's picture

Beautiful thought

a wife is more than any amount. that practice is also done here. men have to pay a bride price. but some bride family charge more than appropriate and for sure some men take advantage of this and end up mistreating their wives. But I know of husband who never even paid or only paid half of the amount abuse their wives. And in such situation I end up thinking, men only want to show their superiolity and treat women as if they are not humans.
Its high time all women are treated with dignity and honour

love and hugz

Patti's picture

Re: beautiful thought

Absolutely true, Dando. If only husbands would love their wives and treat them with dignity and honor, we would all have a whole lot of peace in our homes. And that would transcend to the entire world. A peaceful world, I believe, begins with a peaceful home in which the wife is honored and respected, and not used (together with the children) as a punchbag for rehearsal of World War 3.



This journal entry is very inspiring. It really helped to open my eyes to a custom that I am unfamiliar with and never really understood. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life with me! Also, I am curious, in region of Ghana do you live?


Patti's picture

Re: this journal entry is

Hi Nicole,

Thanks for your comment. I live in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, which is in the Greater Accra Region. But I don't come from here; I come from the Ashanti Region.


Nicole Pampanin's picture

Volta Region

I was curious as I have spent much time volunteering at an orphanage in Hohoe, in the Volta Region. I actually just found out that I received a grant to go back there to do research and volunteer this summer. I love Ghana and I am so excited that I have the opportunity to travel to Ghana again.

Nusrat Ara's picture

It's not only the husbands

It's not only the husbands who should learn to love and respect their women but parents as well as the women themselves. The women have to begin it from themselves .


Patti's picture

Re: it's not only the husbands

Nusrat, almost a year after your comment, I am still pondering why and how parents conscientize their daughters to look down on themselves and remain low much of their lives! Are we as mothers of the present generation doing any different?

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