Dowry or dower, the tradition of the groom's parents/family paying livestock, money, or even giving gifts among other things to the bride's family is still a common practice not only in Collo community, but also in large parts of Africa.

Traditionalists argue that it is a gesture of appreciation. Not only in Collo community, but also in many other African countries such as Zambia for example, where families have been known to sue if the dowry is not paid. In Kenya however, modern young women nowadays say they are fed up with "having a price on their heads".

Now, what do you think about dowry? Is it an outdated tradition, or an integral part of our culture? This article was originally published (in a different format): Tuesday, 6 March, 2007, 12:35 GMT 12:35 UK on the BBC. For more information please refer to:

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  • Guest - William Okuch Dak

    Hi,borther Matthew Pagan, I appreciate your input. However, please allow me to discuss one of your point of view that,

    "Collo have become a global Society, a citizen of the world, our children born in USA, or in Australia or in Europe and brought up there, will not understand the meaning of dowry. An Ocuolo is no longer narrowly defined by geographical limitations as belonging to the Collo land or South Sudan. Nor can he be defined by pure Collo cultural traditions and blood. An Ocuolo has become a citizen of the world, with a global personality".
    I mentioned that, the world is in ideological, religous, cultural and racial conflicts.
    Immigrantion is in question now and many hosting countries are re-legislating immigration laws to limit it.
    WHY? Because immigrants bring with them different values and cultures which are risk to the stability of native culture and values.
    HOW? Laws of hosting countries permit right of the new comers to build their own educational, religious and social institutions.
    Let me mention one occasion, INDIA BONNET. Law in Canada gives right to all people from different countries living in Canada to practice their own culture providing that it doesn't affect Canadaian civil peace. Meanwhile, everyone is abid by Canadian laws.
    Trafic law requires cyclist to wear helmit. Meanwhile, Indian people wear their headboonet and some of them said they can not use helmit because they cannot remove their traditional headwear. So since law gives right to all, Indian people are trying to make government to treat Indian people in special way in order not to give up their traditional headwear.
    If we think about our children being born in other countries that they would lost their values. It is logical to their parents have their cultural, social and religious associations to inspire them. Also, it doesn't mean if those children are observed or evaporated into those world that their people who are majority from their original countries have to adopt new change becuase of their children born abroad.
    Let consider cultural dresses of some of world leaders. For example, most of the Arab presidents in Gulf and that of Afghanistan and India use their culturally formal dresses during offical visitation to other states and during international conferences or summits.
    So why should we be ready to yield to our children being born in other countries while other immigrant children like them are being consider risk to native values and heads of states are asserting that by dressing themselves offically with their cultrual dresses?
    In my personal opinon, part of our good values should be exported to other nation culture.
    My wife is from Philippines and she and my children are very proud of Collo values.
    For example, during Collo cultural day in 2001 in Beirut, Lebanon, she was wearing Collo custume and she and my son one two year son were participants in Collo dance. Moreover, my son loves Collo song very much speically Nyshan song. Whenever he cries, we play Nyshan music and stop crying as he enjoy music.

    One thing me and my wife have agreed is to buy cows and give them to her parents in future in Philippines and this must happen by the will of God.
    Let call your attention to former slaves known as Black Americans.They are searching to find their orginal home and lanaguage.
    Then how can we allow our children to be simply observed into other people way of life.
    It is moral responsibility to protect our customs by mdofiying them to match with new generation

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  • Hello brother Tipo William,

    He in fact posted a different article entitled “Dowry in Collo Community”, in which he viciously attacked me for allegedly having misused the word ‘Dowry’ in my article instead of the words ‘Bride Price’, and also for what he is referring to as “copying ideas from one context to another”. But I chose to keep a low profile, and not to respond to his allegations, for these three main reasons. First, if Mr. Okuk really doesn’t understand what we are talking about here, then there is nothing I can do at this point to make him understand. Secondly, if he is attacking me just for personal reasons, then again there is nothing I can do at this moment to make him change his mind. And thirdly I didn’t want to comment on his article simply because he sounds like very disturbed man, and didn’t want to unnecessarily stir up things that could have probably agitated him further, which I think could have escalated the whole case to a new level. However, thank you very much for your good observation, and such a brilliant clarification.

    Fortunately enough it looks like everyone else got the message that’s why we were able to have a healthy discussion on this issue for a while, until our beloved brother James Solomon Okuk who seems to be the only one having difficulties comprehending the main idea behind the message, or perhaps have a different agenda on his mind unexpectedly broke into our private space.

    In fact many people often enough, inadvertently use the word ‘Dowry’ mistakenly for ‘Bride Price’ just like this author here for example: “The Shilluk dowry is a minimum of 10 cows and 30 sheep and goats.”

    For more information please refer to:

    And that is also what the original article from the BCC Website that Mr. Okuk is now accusing me of copying was all about. It looks like everyone else got the idea from the get go except him. Therefore, I am surprised, and very worried about his level of understanding. I really don’t know why our brother James Solomon Okuk happened to be the only one who is not able to understand what everyone else is talking about here, or perhaps intentionally chose to overlook the meaning behind the entire message for his own personal reasons; when it is stated clearly in both mind, and the original article that: ‘In Kenya however, young women say they are fed up with “having a price on their heads"’.

    And where in the world did Mr. Okuk get the nerves to repeatedly keep accusing me of plagiarism, or “copying ideas from one context to another” as he likes to call it, when I already quoted the source where I got the idea from by saying: This article was originally published (in a different format): Tuesday, 6 March, 2007, 12:35 GMT 12:35 UK on the BBC.

    For more information please refer to:

    I may not have the best translation for the next quote, and don’t remember the author either. But I thought it is important to share it with you anyways to hopefully shed some light on this issue. They say in Latin that: “languages are made primarily for communication. Therefore, a language serves it purpose when we are able to make our points across successfully through it”; which of course seems not to be the case here today according to our beloved brother James Solomon Okuk. It looks like he is somehow not interested in the truth or the actual contents of the message for some reasons, but the quality of the language in which it is written. How can he not see that everyone else is able to understand the meaning behind the message as it is, but him?

    What could I have possibly said, or done wrong to such a good man like Mr. Okuk for him to lash out at me viciously in such a savage manner? And to go as far as treating me along with everyone else who responded to my article like bunch of idiots; just as if we didn’t know the meanings, or the difference between ‘Dowry’ and ‘Bride Price’. Could it possibly be my name that he doesn’t like? Or maybe the tone of my voice that he is having trouble with? Or perhaps the way I talk that keeps irritating him? I have no idea.

    Anyways, finally I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Okuk very much for the free anthropology, sociology, and English language lesson he taught me today. I think I needed it so desperately. As you can tell obviously from my writing that English is not my first language or my best subject either. Therefore, very often my thick accent gets in the way, that’s when a very knowledgeable English language expert like Mr. Okuk comes in handy.

    Diploma is a visible sign for invisible ignorance (Kwopipan, 1986)

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  • Guest - Nyaopun Aban Aban

    Hello Kwopipan Wad-Tit. You have gone a stray from your Slogan, if you meant for nature.
    "Diploma is a visible sign for invisible ignorance"
    Thanks, to prove yourself. But, words like allegations and personally reasons are not for diplomats in forum.
    To be honestly Brothers both articles have gave difference means. Your articles needs yes or No, and James's article, if it is fixed let's say comments.

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  • Hello Nyaopun Aban Aban,

    Thank you very much for the comments. Your point is well taken.

    Now, I got the point. The vicious against me from Mr. Okuk was about my signature (Diploma is a visible sign for invisible ignorance) that kept getting into his nerves, and irritating the hell out of his attention deficit disorder conditions.

    Sorry, I didn’t know that dude is “a PhD student in the University of Nairobi”. Therefore he should be considered as the only one person on earth who knows everything about anything, and rest of the people in the world know nothing about anything, and everything else.

    This message is for Mr. Okuk ... Sorry buddy, please rest assured that my signature has nothing to do with you, or your PhD Studies. It is not meant for you personally, or anyone else on this board for that matter. It is only a personal statement in general terms that I came up with long time ago, back in the day when I was going to school. Given the date in which it was first created (1986); it shows clearly that it was written long ago probably before you could have even set foot in a classroom.

    Please stop attacking innocent people lik me, and keep on doing what you have been doing up to the point before you met me here. I hope God helps you in your PhD studies.

    Diploma is a visible sign for invisible ignorance (Kwopipan, 1986)

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  • Sorry I meant to say the vicious attack against me ...

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  • Guest - Mathew Pagan

    Please, I beg you brothers,
    Let us keep focus on our discussion. It’s an important cultural problem that requires the courage and prudence to accept whatever words come our way in this forum. We must remain steady, reflective, and refrain from diverting our discussion into personal issues. We have a goal to achieve, as it is said: talking is part of the solution. I hope we will achieve something.
    Just forgive…let us continue our dialogue.

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  • Guest - Mathew Pagan

    Dear brother, William Okuch Dak,
    I understand how passionately you love our motherland and culture. But I think your world view is totally different from the world of your children. Maybe you used to go after cows or goats, or had your own cattle. You understood their value, in that part of the world and in that particular culture in Collo land.. The first thing or among the things you saw as a child was the cattle. Since then they have shaped your mind and have become part of you, whether you like it or not.
    I belong to the same world as you are, maybe the same generation. Your children have no direct experience of cattle or of bride wealth, as we had. When we were young we were taught and saw the value and meaning of the bride wealth. Your children will be influenced by the world around them that shapes their thinking and their life. Let me give you an example that happened two years ago. A girl of Pakistan origin, was killed by her father with the agreement of her mother, because she wanted to live like a European. She had an affair with a European boy a colleague of hers in the school. Her parents were angry because she broke the tradition, a cousin of hers was supposed to engage her and marry, back home in Pakistan. A clear example of clash of values between generations and specially the first generation of immigrants and their children.
    The world is experiencing a strong wave of immigration, and there is no way for the strictest of laws to halt it. It will eventually fall like the Berlin wall. Secondly, if globalization is true too its meaning, then any country will become a home to any human being. The direct consequences is not creating ghettos but opening more chances to pluralism at all levels of human life. And for us we have to rethink the bride wealth before they eliminate it for us.

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  • Guest - Ayiik Paul(Bol Paul)

    Confusion; with respect to our value as collo and this website, let me begin by pointing out that the comment we made here should not be considered as undermining or become as an argument since we are not debating here. Kwoopipan Wad- Tit should not act as a judge, because you don't need to reply every individual. Your article is very clear to every one but don't expect all responses to be positive ones. It will be meaningless if you accept only appreciation. you need to think twice, if you are not ready to face the different individual's views or responses
    The reason we are here not because we are perfect but because we are going to gain and will learn a lot by being ready to be corrected the same time. You did contributed an importance topic. If one of our brothers had analysis a parallel article, it shouldn't worry you much It is like you had remained him to add some thing more on addition to what you had mentioned. Let encourage ourselves to post different topic.

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  • Guest - William Okuch Dak

    GENESIS: 11:1-9
    Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.
    4 the they said, "Come, let build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaces to the heaven, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth".
    6 The Lord said, " if as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them".
    7 "Come, let us go down and confuse their langauge so they will not understand each other".
    8 "So the Lord scattered them from there over all earth, and they stopped building the city".
    9 "That is why it was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of the world".
    ACTS 2:4,6,7
    4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
    6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each on heard them speaking in his own language.
    7 Utterly amazed, they asked, "are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?
    8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?
    My dearest brothers and sisters, let us try to know about God intention of creating this world and to observe His instructions. If God want us as one nation, He could had destroyed the Tower, scattering people over the world and giving them differnt langauge and faces and colors.
    Again, God give Holy Spirit in different langauages because we have to communicate with Him in our won way.
    Let consider human attempt to unify the world to know it it has work or not.

    Ottoman empire, United Kingdom (UK) Russia and others huge powers had once dominated the most parts of our world. Despite of their power, nations with poor war tools have prevail and retain their languages and cultures.
    It wasn't because of their physical power that brought them victory, but God invisible spiritual power does.
    Good example is European continent as world dominant which is Linguistically divided while keeping itself constitutionally. Nowadays, Turky is not willing to join EU because if its religon and culture.
    One of the European president castigated US policy in pushing Europe to accept Turky membership that, "Europe will pay the price of bringing Turky with huge Muslim population, while American will be the beneficiray".
    Cultural power had expelled out Sovit Union from Afghanistan.
    Outgoing US preseident George W Bush had launched the war against Iraq in 2003 and Israel war against Lebanon in 2006,under SLOGAN, " the war to change the most trouble region in the world, middle east has begun".
    But America has failed becausethe region has its agenda and point of view in vsiualzing the world.
    Now, to overcome the situation in Iraq made US government to reconcile with tribal leaders likwise in Pakistan and Afhanistan.
    Where are the most civilized Iraqis puppets used by American forces during invasion?
    They are not there anymore because Iraqis people consider them traitors who have Western attitude.
    One thing to consider is sense of racism feel by immigrants in their new world. Whenever you found yourself not original home, you feel incomplete and feel discriminate. You might feel it from your classmate, neighbor, co-worker etc.
    So whome is so important.
    So I wonder who will yield his culture to who and where is the one world we are expecting and who will it look like.
    In some of indutrialized world, new generation is in trouble and shortly they will re-embrace their grandfather way of life. Most families give freedom to their children at age of 16 year olds. Those young people are confront by many difficulties and most them now are thinking that remaining under parental control is important. That is evidence of going back to old way of life.
    Let continue discussion in good faith and cordiality.

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  • Guest - William Okuch Dak

    This is in addition to the above opinon.

    Thank you brother Matthew Pagan. For sure, you have a lot to offer me and I do as well.

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