Dowry: is it still necessary?

Do today’s women consider it a must for your husband to be, pay dowry to your parents?

Would our parents be disappointed if you alerted them that you don’t plan to do the whole dowry thing?

I ask because I believe it is one part of our culture that dictates male / female relations giving an advantage to men, especially in rural Kenya.

Are there women who will stay away from dowry just so that they cannot be claimed as owned or having been ‘bought’ by their husband’s family?

Is there a modern way of looking at dowry?

Shouldn’t dowry be purely an exchange of gifts and a process of unifying two families without expectations of money or ‘goats’?

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29 thoughts on “Dowry: is it still necessary?

  1. Dowry utalipa brasa. The uncles and whatever will come for your neck, if the agreed **unalipa hire purchase style ama check off system** sum/number is not reached at the time of the wife’s demise she will be buried in her fathers diggs sio the husbands, i have seen it happen!

  2. Dowry is VITAL.

    I have 2 sisters and and between me and my father (shhh, usiambie kila mtu)… we have already computed the Future Value based on the following inputs:

    a) Investment is an annuity due
    b) Interest is compounded monthly
    c) Required rate of return is 15%
    d) Time invested = 30 years
    e) Monthly Daughter (2) Upkeep fees = $ 3,000
    f) PV = 0
    g) FV = ?

    ps: hatutaki ng’ombe.

    ps (ii): It’s not that you are buying my sisters, and it’s not that we are recouping the investment, it’s simply that you are proving your mettle, showing us that our gals will not suffer … mind you even with the dowry, they can come back home if you start misbehaving … and NO REFUNDS!!

    Hmmm … They really are worth that much 🙂

  3. My mum and I had a discussion about dowry.

    She said she does not expect the man to pay it….. she said that in this time, afadhali the man doesnt pay… and then he can provide… ama he can be a nice husband. Si ati he pays for the dowry and then he becomes like he is owning you… ama he cant pay for the food and shit!

  4. @Methuselah, the good thing about when our time comes to expire everyone will be buried at the cemetery. Which means I might not have to lipa dowry…lol

    @Mwangi…you need very serious prayers. By the way you did not add discounts in your formula. Good behavior, reputation, potential etc should yield a young man some kind of discount.

    @movie buff – your mom has a good point. Problem is that if you leave in Kenya and you attend extended family outings, you don’t want to be the guy ‘who never even paid dowry for our daughter’

    @anonymous, I don’t know where it originated but it seems to be almost all cultures. Maybe Adam’s rib to Eve was the first gesture of dowry?

  5. In keeping with tradition, I’d say yes its necessary. Whats not right about it is when the girl’s family ‘come too much’

  6. Some families live for that moment when they’ll ask for dowry!
    I think the jamaa should give a small token of appreciation. The girl’s famo need not state their daughter’s worth.

    Mwangi..u forgot your meds leo?

  7. @farmgal, kwani the bride’s have nothing to be appreciative of, shouldn’t they also be giving a token to the jamaa’s family?

  8. farmgal, I agree the chic is the token lakini I thought y’all went to beijing to bring equality?

    in which case the jamaa’s famo should be owed some nice chumz…

  9. I believe that a token sum should be paid to the family as appreciation but not this mambo of extortion. Ati “she has gone to university so we need 1 million from you!”
    I dont have time for that extortion shiite! We need to move on and stop selling our daugthers!

  10. I don’t think there is any way of escaping it if you are interested in marrying a good African woman. If you can’t pay just elope.
    I have been told that you should never finish paying the dowry so that you are always in debt to your inlaws is this true? sounds scary

  11. I know this dude who was asked to cough Kes 2M. He paid & he has never set a foot to his inlaws home since then. When they go visiting he drops Her & toi’s at the pero’s Gate…..!

  12. HAHAHA…Mwangi you’ve made my day man!
    I’ve had this conversation with my parents and stated that under no circumstance should they accept dowry for me. I think however that my reasoning was because over the years I’ve heard claims that dowry is ‘buying’ a woman. I’ve recently embarked on a study to better understand my culture and that of other tribes in Kenya. With that said, I think that people should understand that dowry is an appreciation of the giving away of ones daughter…not to be confused with bride-price. With my little understanding, I’m still not comfortable with dowry being paid for me…I’m PRICELESS and thus no amount of money could be a token to my parents of my being!

  13. if the dude can toa some sort of gift ni sawa-if he cannot sawa tu, but he had better be in a position to feed the family he plans to start. those families go asking huge sums of money coz the daughter amesoma sana etc is just plain extortion.

  14. @Kirima, it is indeed true that dowry is never finished. It is supposed to be a process and not an end in itself.

    I know for sure that my dad up to this day continues to give gifts to my cucu.

    My grandpa used to get goats every single time his in laws would visit. It is a very good thing.

    @inexes…there is no way am coughing up Kes. 2M for dowry. Earlier to my point, emphasis should be on relationship not the chumz. I would do exactly like this dude, never show up at my in laws.

    Q, you want to tell me if I have in cash KES 1.2 million, 15,000 shares of EABL, 69 very healthy sheep and a Subaru Legacy for your parents; I can’t get me some Q to go?

    Yani you are more PRICELESS than that??

  15. Interestin Topic u brin up 3n! I support dowry as long as given in good faith n as atoken of appreciation & not sijui paros ati wanalipwa!

  16. @ 3N:

    Those discounts are absorbed in the required rate of return …

    The FV incidentally works out to about:

    $ 100,075.7524

    We’ll round it to a ka-loose 100k.

  17. how did I miss this? Quintessence explores the meaning and origin of dowry. In theory, historically, dowry was not only a token, but also an indication that the man could care for his in-laws (in countries like India where a woman pays dowry, her family would give utensils, saris, et al… things that both her and her new family would benefit from)..

    The modern world has of course corrupted that, in various parts of the world, where it is now an income-generating endeavor, much as Mwangi, though in jest, points out.

  18. I told my parents they should not expect my man to pay dowry.
    This dowry ish makes sme1 feel like a liability or a product where the man owns u. I dont want 2 be owned, i want 2 be one with the man that i love.

  19. I can’t believe I missed this. Only recently I was chatting a friend along those lines. Eloping is the sure way of a stress free life with a loved one especially if her parents are members of the Kikuyu Mafia and you are not a Kikuyu.

    Personally I think I will talk to her about the dowry nightmare then try to convince her that I shouldn’t pay. Dowry is ancient.

  20. How did I miss this post!

    1. Mwangi! MEZA DAWA jameni. Typical msapere. Si you gimme your sisters’ names so I can steer clear?

    2. How we handle the dowry business in my family is that the potential suitor doesn’t pay it in full. That gives the father in law reason to visit once in a while, and the opening conversation is usually “where are the rest of my cows?” although that’s more like tongue in cheek.

    I’d be more than glad to pay dowry for a good African woman, but only as a token of appreciation to her folks for having brought up such a gem, and as a way to foster good relations between the two families. Mila lazima zifuatiwe.

    On the other hand, you cannot put a price on a human being, so its not possible to equate a chic to 50 cows or 100 goats.

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