Dowry in Collo Community

Text Size

By James Okuk

Should Dowry be Abolished in Collo Community:A Misplaced Query Copied from BBC ‘ Africa Have Your Say’

In Anthropological and Sociological References, a Dowry is defined as the money, goods, services or any property that a bride (or a to-be-married-woman) brings to her bridegroom (or to-be-married-man) before they are declared publicly and legitimately as husband and wife.

It is compared to Bride Price, which is paid by the bridegroom’s side to the parents or family of the bride in the process of marriage procedures. The concept Dowry is derived from the term Dower – i.e. a property settled by the bride herself for her bridegroom at the time of marriage.


From what I know, the concept ‘Dowry applies appropriately to matrilineal societies (which describes the line of genealogical relationship or descent that follows the female side of a family or in which only such relationships are recognized), while the concept ‘Bride Price’ fits patrilineal societies (which describes family relationships through the male line or in which only such relationships are recognized).


Given this clarification, it is important to note that Collo Society is a patrilineal society. If this is the case then the concept Dowry does not fits directly to the case of Collo society. Perhaps, it is the concept Bride Price which may be appropriate to discuss here in the Collo context. Therefore and from a logical/linguistic point of view the question that is posted in this website by Kwopipan Wad Tit (copied from the BBC Radio Progrmme of ‘Africa Have Your Say’- Should Dowry be Abolished?)could be called a misplaced query. Also the attempted answers by our brothers could be regarded as off-context as well though they may be to the point if the context is adjusted.


This misplacement could be rescued if the question is adjusted to read: Should Bride Price be Abolished in Collo Community? If this is fixed, then we could comment on the ‘Bride Price’ rather than the misplaced ‘Dowry’ knowing that the right question is a pre-requisite for the right answer!


Please note that this is the complication of using another lingua-media to describe another culture (i.e. using English Language to explain Collo Culture, Customs and Traditions). This confusion is a common mistake in everyday discussions and even in some academic discourses. Thus our brother Kwopipan and others who did not pay attention to the use of this concept may be excused here and advised to be critical when copying ideas from one context to another.

Comments (5)
  • Nyaopun Aban Aban

    In recognition and respects for our culture. As an Anuak proverb say “A woman without man is like a field without seeds”.
    A Chollo believed that marriage is not a merely the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife but is additionally based on the relations between the two families or clan involved.
    Bringing the two families together is the believed to further strengthen the relationship between the two married individual as well as provide support and reduce the rate of divorce. The bridewealth that is pays to the woman’s family in the process of marriage should reduces So that it allow number of youths to get marriages.
    If we are to maintain our customs, cultures and marriage anointments expensively our sisters will follow the life in the street as prostitutes, and boys will emerges as guy.
    Bridewealth was part of the traditional social structure and marriage ethos that enabled the two families or clan to engage strengthen theirs own relationship, but it should be reduces to a certain fix percent.

    Nyaopun Aban Aban

  • Otuk James

    Our sisters are good stuff. Why do mate want to reduce the price of a good quality.

    Otuk James Chwoy

  • Mathew Pagan

    BAD LANGUAGE! Stuff and quality are terminologies appropriate for commerce not for HUMAN BEINGS created in the image and likeness of God. WE are all equal. Our sisters are not slaves to be sold or auctioned by man. They are not STUFF, they have no quality. THEY HAVE DIGNITY; THEY ARE PERSONS NOT THINGS.

  • William Okuch Dak

    You got it well done Nyaopun Aban Aban.
    Modification and re-adjustment are helpful for continuity.
    Please if you have spirit of more findings, find out if cost of marriage is holding people from marriage.
    But let me mention history of Collo man I know.
    I missed communication with that gentleman since I left Sudan in 1994.
    Pay attention to his concept about dowry. He was in good economic situation while many Collo girls are in bad economic poverty.
    That man have many girlfriends and three of them got pregnancy. He was charged to give three cows and goats to the parents of girls. Know here what he said and find his behavior during meeting with girld relatives.
    Relatives: "Do you have your relative representative with whom we could communicate on preganant case?"
    Man: "No need to talk to them, just tell me how much one cow and goat could cost so I can pay right away?
    Indeed, when representative calculated prices of cow and goat, he he paid instantly because he has enough money.
    Moreover, Dinka and Nuer are marrying our daughters for two reasons. First reason is human value and attitude. The second reason is cost is not too high.
    So cost of marriage in my opinon is not a big problem.
    As you said that two families involved in marriage build social bond, therefore, they should not put their concern about wealth rather than wishing good future for their daughter and son -in-law. I do understand that many families accept few cow and goat till other would be completed in future. Sometime, completion emerges from wealth of granddaughter.
    Anyway, let continue discussion on good faith and findings that would bring more happiness and appreciation to Collo people than regret.

  • Omony Albino

    Dowry in chollo custom is symbol of love, respect, appreciation and gratitude to the wife’s parents for raising and caring for her. It is a long standing tradition and is widely accepted in chollo. So, when a daughter leaves her parents they are “compensated” with the dowry since the daughter will now “work” for her husband.Of course today many Chollo parents are more modern thinking and the dowry is often more important as a visible sign to the community of how successful the new son-in-law is. I think the bottom line is if we have love ,then we should not worry too much about the dowry. If it is something we can afford then it is really no big deal. I mean really, how can we compare dowry to love?.

Write comment
Your Contact Details:
[b] [i] [u] [s] [url] [quote] [code] [img]   
default Security Image
Please input the anti-spam code that you can read in the image.