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Bride Price a big haggle for Ugandan Women


Uganda is one of the countries where the practice of bride price is the norm. Bride price is currently actively practiced throughout the country. In research carried out by The Uganda Association of Women Lawyers in Uganda (FIDAU), 95.1% of the respondents stated that bride price is essential to validate a marriage.
Anecdotal information to date has shown that the institution of bride price is a gross violation of human rights and appeals for your support in mitigating the impact of this practice. The nature and amount of bridal wealth levied varies among the different tribes. In Buganda, the largest tribe in Uganda, it is local mwenge (banana wine), kanzus and gomesi (traditional dress) including a variety of other items like meat, vegetables, bananas, paraffin etc. In Bugisu, it is two heads of cattle and optionally, goats. Among the Japadhola it is five cows, five goats and a sheep
Basing on stories from local partners, there is a relationship between bride price and domestic violence. The general understanding is that the payment of bride price has changed from a traditional practice involving gifts to one that involves cash or large payments and “haggling”.
Bride price for tribes found in western and eastern Uganda is in the form of cattle. This may change depending on the economic status of a family; some may ask for rare antiquities such as coins now out of circulation. For most, if not all the tribes, until 1945, bride price was mainly a form of appreciation to parents of a girl who remains a virgin till her marriage. In Bundibugyo and Kasese its not any different, it is 12 goats, 12 Jerri cans of local brew, a blanket, a hoe, suits for both parents, bed sheets, including a variety of many other items. There is further anecdotal evidence that women in these districts have stayed or even died in abusive relationships in the bid of protecting the institution of bride price because if they divorced the bride price would be demanded back and most families are not in position to do that.
So many people have remained unmarried because of the exorbitant bride price levied, should there be any misunderstanding in a relationship they will always refer to the bride wealth, women have no say in fear of what item is paid in as bride price. Wives have been nicknamed by their husbands, as the items they were asked to pay at their homes. And this is so dehumanizing for the woman.



No hoe, no bucket of wealth, no cattle, goats or sheep can ever come close to the value of a woman. The woman raises the family, leads the household, prepares the meals, takes care of the home and is the role model for the children. How can cattle possibly compare? This archaic practice of treating women like objects, without heart, spirit and mind, must stop! May we teach our sons and daughters to walk away from this practice and as parents, demand not things but only honesty, integrity and respect from the person they are to marry.

jacollura's picture

Thank you for this post.

I love Uganda and admire and respect Ugandan women. We must work to end this dehumanizing practice.
Keep writing.

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