The commercialization of the Greater Bor Dinka marriage system and its detrimental impacts on the low-income Class!

Posted: January 9, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Thon Atem Ayiei

By Thon Atem Ayiei, Juba, South Sudan

dating and marriage

January 9, 2017 (SSB) — Marriage is a life friendship between a man and a woman based on a mutual interests of each other during the season of courtship in agreeing to conform a family that would in the future serves as memory of the couples in spirit and appearance. Marriages vary from continent to continent and country to country reflecting traditional norms and culture of the existing ethnic groups depending on their economic activities and customary laws set aside to protect the community values.

With Dinka people in particular, marriage is executed when the parents of the groom in an organized talks to complete the total number of cows designated as the bride price. There exist a fixed number of cows for every qualified young man to pay but the law of fixed number of cows can only be override if the marriage negotiation turns out a competition of two aspiring bridegrooms over one girl.

This freelance writer is concern to take you on for the new trends marriages in Dinka Bor community have recently become, with total disregard to the initial traditional packages to the fashion of commercialized skyrocketing bride prices that has remained the subject of common discussion. I am in disagreement with the current trends of bride wealth payment in Bor communities because the traditional norms have been ignored, the statistics of women against men has not been considered either, economic viability of the country not reflected, girls choices on their counterparts also jeopardized by parents, cross generational marriages given way, force marriage is increasingly celebrated and the community elites in their watch kept silence over the matter!

What have we become apparently in marriage negotiations? Parents view their daughters as expensive commodities to elevate family economic status where as young men painted as potential purchasers of the living commodity. Ladies being forced by parents to get married against their will, have gone rampant in executing family responsibilities and those denied chance to marry their love ones due to lack of paying the demanded parental concealment parcel, have consequentially ran away from families and conditionally accept whatever life that suits them as freedom of choice.

This development has generated enormous negatives than positives, huge number of ladies have lost opportunities to explore the talents, denied basic human rights alongside blatant traditional women abuses and young men as well continue to face ups and downs in search to accumulate wealth that could help them get married with high expectations from the parents of the girls to be married.

Leaving this social concern unaddressed by Bor community, will be automatically followed by dangerous precarious consequences that would attempt to distort the traditional values, norms and cause harsh revolution of the dot com generation that could not easily be controlled by both parents of the springs. The community in question must sit down and resolve the suitable marriage wealth affordable by every young man that the rate of marriages can go up compared to years passed without moderate marriages conducted.

The case in point is about a young guy who eloped the loved one, and was asked to pay the bride price of six hundred thousand South Sudanese pounds in terms of cows but before the accomplishment of the payment process, another man married with number women appeared behind the scene encountering the two who eloped each other for mutual concerns and sidelined the father of the girl with one million South Sudanese Pounds, one land cruiser V8, and a concrete flat house where a girl was forced to accept the man against her initial choice of a man who ran away with her.

When you analytically looked at this adventure, you find the six hundred thousand man young, handsome, more educated, highly valued among the community in contrast to the three-woman man, with un-systematical academic possession, old in age, but lucrative logistic personnel given the girl to marry without her will. This kind of life is not only stressful but also illegal for both traditional and modern conformity. Girls have to continuously suffer in order to satisfy their parents who are seriously interested in marriage wealth but not the caring their daughters from husbands.

The same situation is being undertaken by young men who have not inherited any wealth from parents, and big enough to bring home a woman but nothing to do that, are exposed to illegal ways of acquiring wealth to be able to execute the couple lives. Those in towns opted for corruption, ritual means of getting rich, robbery and many others while in the villages, young men resorted to cattle wrestling, cattle stealing, ritual influence and moreover, running away to distanced lands with other people’s daughters.

If this issue is not put rest by the concern traditional and modern authorities, as we wait for its automatic revolution impact, it would completely uproot the cultural values, lost to payment of marriage wealth and adapting far distanced cultures and the control of the upcoming generation in getting influence by available life styles. My suggestion on the matter is that it is never too late to revise the considerable common ground for low income young men in the Bor community regarding the marriages both in traditional and modern occasions.

I will rest my case with expectations to hear new development concerning this pressing issue from the community elders, intellectuals, chiefs and politicians to address and unconditionally returned the happiness of marriage, cultural norms and the importance of cows to the community.

The writer is concerned community member, and can be reached via or +211922888553

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

  1. The Intellectual! says:

    This social phenomena is transcending not to only Dinka People or Bor Community but to all the impoverished young citizens of South Sudan unless it is made a law to be respected by everyone!


  2. The Sympathizer! says:

    In Nuer and Murle communities, abduction of young girls that later turns into self-wives by those who abducted them, is more than worse in South Sudan! People are astonished to when this kidnapping will come to an end.


  3. Alam says:

    Very eloquent.. My two cents on this is that our people will learn the hard way.. Give it time and this marriage thing will die slowly. People will fine alternative sooner or later. We have to learn to set a solid foundation and encourage people to do so. My observation has been that all these dowries being shelled out since the days of lost boys and people are still struggling. Give me a break. Marriage is suffering from a very serious case of high blood pressure and if not treated will be fatal to the society and marriage will loose it’s meaning. Time for baby mama or baby daddy is coming to south Sudan capital where it will easily be accepted then in village. Mark my word.


  4. I agree with the writer on the note that if the issue is not rectified, it will change the generation from its cultural values. I have on the same note tried to engage a few elders whom i met about the trends in matrimonial developments in the society today but all are also astonished but can’t do anything but poverty is pricking them hard hence considering it as a fortune.

    For all the years i observed this, no one has ever become rich of wealth acquired through bride price. Pathetically, some youth just sit there waiting on their sisters to turn fortunes for them. As a concerned citizen i value this piece so much and hope that people concerned would act on this soon before the vices that come with the trend (corruption, robbery, cattle rustling, run away brides, communal fights etc) don’t dig deep because it will not be with us all.


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