Perhaps a better caption would have been, ‘what is the worth of a woman?’, ‘what is her present and future premium value?’. This question comes to mind considering what is taken in exchange for the ‘head’ of the woman at traditional marriages. Is she just worth some alligator pepper, oversized yams, palm oil, coconut, red oil, baskets of groceries, bags of rice, a box of clothes and wads of cash? Or perhaps a baby manufacturer, milk factory, child processor, room toy , a piece of furniture or even antique?
When my friend, Winston (real name withheld) got married in June last year, he lamented, ‘omo Beryl, those guys are cruel. The bride price negotiation started from N1,500,000 aside the other items customary requested and exclusive of refreshment and logistics for the occasion which almost gulped N2,000,000. Ehn! How much am i earning to warrant all the harassment?’ . i told him, ‘guy calm down o, na u wan marry, just take care of their daughter o’. He said, ‘what! Look i will do whatever i want with her! I know what i suffered and how much i paid!…’
Take a snapshot of that mindset. Add clips of men being flogged in Northern Nigeria to prove or validate their manhood, another screen-grab of the LONG list of things to buy and people to see before ‘acquiring’ a bride , more clips… and you still wonder why women are bullied in their home, second class citizen, to be seen and not to be heard?
God started marriage. What was the bride price for Eve? Who started this ‘bride-price business’?
Let’s delve a little into the marriage list; that customary list unique to each tribe, indicating all the items to be provided by the groom’s family before they acquire the bride. Who makes the list? What constitutes the list in your tribe and what do the items signify?
In other news, i recently discovered that in parts of Asia, the bride’s family pays the bride-price…and that in Ghana the groom takes on the bride’s surname instead…OMG!
Also, in some parts of Africa, the value of the list can go up or reduce depending on the pedigree of the family or prospective in-laws, the physical appearance , level of education of the bride, acceptance of the bride’s family in the community and many other un-writable reasons.
Oh gosh! Perhaps I need to make more research, maybe get an authentic traditional marriage list from different tribes. This is going to be exciting…To be continued.