- Written/Submitted by Dr. James Okuk
- Category: Pachodo.org Latest English Articles
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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.
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