Traditional Bride Price or “Buy” Price

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I love being African, God. I love being Nigerian, too much. I love being Igbo, eternally…

Now, I don’t like this other bit even in the slightest way possible. The exorbitant bride price bit. (Notice I said the “exorbitant” bride price).
Let me understand it. Is it like an actual “buying” of the bride?

Thankfully, I have a centenarian in my lineage so I can easily get first hand information on different cultural practices.

According to grandma, it is not selling the bride, but officially giving her to so and so in marriage. That singular act now bestows integrity of marriage to the bride, and the parents are now aware and have given their blessings and consent. In fact, there was a set amount to be paid in time past. My mum recalls it was sixty Naira in her time. And when an in- law brings the sixty naira, the bride’s parents don’t take all. They only collect half or less than half, reminding their new in- law that their daughter is not being sold but have now been given the blessings to go and build her own home with Mr. X. who has indicated interest and have shown he is a man of honour and integrity to have come and followed due process.

Other items like yam, goat and palm wine are brought and the merriment starts. And all go home merry.

Compare that idea with what’s happening today. There is a sharp contrast and completely different notion.
I have been to some Traditional weddings lately and I am wondering if it is actually a bride price or “buy” price the prospective son in-law is made to pay?

Why would a man empty his coffers because he wants to officially and more importantly traditionally marry his Forever Lady?
Why is a woman’s worth quantified by some number of currencies- thousands and hundreds?

Is it not ridiculous that a man is asked to pay more and more cash because the lady to be married has gotten degree(s)?
What’s the connection really?

It beats my imagination that some folks would insist on some very huge, exorbitant amount and other material things from their prospective in-law, and then gladly give away their daughter to a man who has been robbed of all (as it were) and greedily watch a new home plunged into poverty.

So old fellas, do you just want to get your “share” and forget about the well being of your daughter and son in-law?

My thoughts:
Dear traditional people, dear people of the clan, dear kindred please stop making it Traditional Buy Price.

Dear well respected elders, no daughter’s worth is measured in money and some tubers of yams (at least not I and not my beautiful nieces. Please take note).

Dear all concerned in this business, please stop ushering your daughters to poverty. When you make those lists of yams, goat, drinks, money, etc; quickly project into the future and remember they would need to eat, pay some bills and sort other things as soon as they finish with you and begin their own home.

Whether it will end anytime soon (I mean the “Traditional Buy Price”) is what I do not know for sure, but I have declared my stance. If it is bride price, it should be reasonably so! And in fact return it to Traditional Bride Price, P-L-E-A-S-E.

And dear Forever Guy, you are worth more than gold, coins or notes and I need not say same of me right? Because you already know.

To all in this business,
Please re- think it again.

African woman
Igbo Lady
Concerned Me…

Amaka Okoye

Amaka Okoye

A seasoned and an award-journalist who has practiced both in and outside of Nigeria. She has covered varied beats but her forte is Conflict and Crisis Reporting. She majors in reporting terrorism, banditry and abductions in the Northern part of Nigeria.

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Ndidiamaka Edeh
Ndidiamaka Edeh
7 years ago

Amaka Dear, this is indeed awesome! Great job well done. It’s seriously a nightmare in my kindred… at some point I had to consult the elders in my clan to rethink their methodology and guiding principles leading to the compositions of the list given to the guy in question. There’s need to rethink it all over.

7 years ago
Reply to  amakafree

Inasmuch as you want change this problem, the guys also need to make amends to the approach to the pride price thing. Why not go for that girl you think is your level, I mean close or same social strata.
In my place they call it “Kwarya tabi kwarya” loosely translated a calabash will follow a calabash, not what a Warri boy will call a Pakwo following an Ajebo.

7 years ago

I have always wondered why it is so. I cannot speak for other traditions but I know for a fact that it is popular in African and some Asian countries. Why though?

7 years ago

Reblogged this on Carol Gicheru and commented:
Someone please explain why this happens. A friends *coughs* is trying to do some research before her D-day.

Ezesinachi Emma
Ezesinachi Emma
7 years ago

Odi egwu, and some ladies thought that those charges determine their worth.
I suffered it, but my wife was with me