You, DINKA rude sellers; is it marriage or business? Please regulate your matrimonial dowry to the moderate one!
By KON Joseph LEEK
Girls from the side of the bride attend the wedding in Lakes state, South Sudan, May 2011
When it is a hen that has started eating its own chicken, what do you think it can do to other hens’ chickens? (African proverbs)
If they are the fathers that have started looking at their own daughters at the image of foods, goods and money, don’t you think they are chasing away the market of their very own daughters?
And of what good is it if your daughter grows grey hair, lose the shape of her breast, her eyes reddened and shrunken, face disfigured, skin withered and emaciated (lose its softness), and feet cracking in your homestead simple because men are scared away by the way you look at them?
Daughters’ fathers have long dropped eyes and hearts to look and study their daughters’ husbands-to-be and uses mouth to look and study them instead. Nobody love to be swallowed knowingly!
In the past, a good hearted, hard working and respectful person were the ones chose by the girls’ parents as their daughters’ husbands but now, good heartedness, hard working and respectfulness have been shifted to the fat-pockets’ folks.
It does not matter whether you are a hyena, donkey or even a frog who divorcing women is your hubby and your wallet always carries cash; do not worry, be happy for you are carrying a free ticket of kissing a prince and breaking some few hearts of the poor princesses’ boyfriends.
Wanh Alel Dinka customary law of years ago documented it and followed there after that, the number of cows to be paid for dowry should be 31 cows and Dinka Bor of Tui, Nyarweng, Hol, Athooch and Gook made it 30 – a different of one cow with that of Wanh Alel.
Last week, the affected group – the youths of greater Tonj called for the reduction of the number of matrimonial dowry and called for revisiting, revising and moderation of Wanh Alel customary laws to the fair price it has long contained but broken afterwards. Dinka Bor (where I belong) is yet to call its meeting against the number of dowries.
Up to 1991 when Riek Machar defiled and ransacked Dinka Bor, the matrimonial price was still at its best – 30 cows.
From 1992 – 2000, girls were given freely because cows had long been taken away by Riek forces and Bor were banished from their lands and were now dotted in the land of farmers of crops – Equatoria region who keeping of cows is not akin to them except goats, planting of cassava, sweet potatoes, and other crops.
2000 – 2005, South Sudanese Lost Boys came back in to the market (then later followed by the Dinka – Canadian and Dinka – Australian). They began flooding refugee camps and Internally Displaced Camps with American Dollars and began paying tenth of thousands dollars for girls as dowry. This prompted many fathers of girls to channel their appétit to the direction where they were seeing the light.
Others went as far as bringing their daughters from pande-Monyjang and other places inaccessible by lost boys to those camps in search of market. A dollar – boy (how they were nicknamed) could come all the way from Saskatchewan, California, and Tasmania and so on where he had manually worked for 5years when he has been there (not even studying) and come to Africa where he gathers his relatives to decide for him a girl to marry (and in modern civilization copied from the WEST, you need to choose a girl yourself and first love yourselves and thereafter proposes marriage but we were seeing the opposite from our Dinka brothers – perhaps elites, how we could see them then… coming from the Western world).
This has in several occasions injected jealousness, bitterness and hate in some souls who were robbed off their love ones by those dollar boys and caused divorce many times because the few souls robbed by the dollar boys snoop and dogged their former girl friends where their robbers (already husbands to their girl friends) have rented them houses in the cities to resides, and rock up again.
This latter led to pregnancies that turns out to be adulterous pregnancies which provoked girl’s parents to more or less burry themselves alive or hang themselves. The response to the offender (the pregnance-er) is always almost grave. Many parents have been heartbroken many times by their daughters (turn rebels) and lost boys by their wives (turn villains), and the heart breakers have been punished several times but the results always remain the same especially to the determined ones.
When we began sensing money in Juba, the shift began from America (as generalized by the Dinka whether from Australia, USA, Canada, Cuba etcetera) to South Sudan.
When you are after a girl, the inquiries always are, where is he working? Is he a son to which General? Is his father an Undersecretary or a Director General? Oh! Is he a tharaf (accountant) of the military? And many more… and the inquirers are sometimes not tharafin taa jesh (accountants) or Generals among other positions they adore
The most favorite ones were military accountants and some other robbers of public fans (since accountability is still a nightmare in this Country) for you could see them dashing monies out over anything, driving themselves in the latest cars and drinking like fish in any expensive hotels discussing government this and government that…. in an assumed wisdom of liquor (many of whom are less-intellectuals). They began paying 300,000 – 500,000 South Sudanese Pounds as dowry hence drowning the girl’s parents with wealth got on ghost – names (far much distant than that one of lost boys)
I believe when Dinka decided that the dowry should end at 30 and 31, I think they know what they really meant. They wanted everyone even the poor ones to marry but this is making the poor ones to stay unmarried forever and other girls aging in their fathers’ homestead in expectation of el-tharaf bitaa jesh and so…..
The only better Dinka now is Dinka Malual of Aweil and Padang (Ngook Dinka) but they are currently being misled by their brothers from Bor, Rek, Agaar and Yirol.
In Dinka Bor, people of Duk county were the first to start giving their daughters freely during the war (and later cheaply) but now have sped pass almost other Dinka Bor because they learned that from them, and for that case Aweil and Ngook will drive pass all the other Dinkas soon just like Duk’s people – that is the worth and worse of learning from others!
Let’s borrow a leaf from Tonj youth and call upon the elders and state government to regulate the amount of dowry. Everything has now become loose that everyone is not married and everyone is not getting married. We are all getting old in our parents homestead because we are not affording the dowry
………………………..to be continued
The writer is an independent journalist and a Commentator on Contemporary South Sudan, Currently living in Juba; he can be reached on email@example.com & 0955091449