In this post, I will attempt to answer this question with my little knowledge about how our African culture works.
Firstly You need to understand what a “bride price”, means. It is a traditional token given during a traditional wedding ceremony between two families in a marriage rite. Acceptance of a bride price from a suitor is also the lady’s family endorsement that they willingly gave their daughter away in marriage. You may say it is an acceptance of the groom and his family. It is a token saying we value this woman whom our son wants to marry! We appreciate all that her family had done to raise her.
Bride Price is a serious matter in Africa and at least in Nigeria where I am from. People believe that a woman whose bride price was not paid did not “marry properly”. In some tribes in the eastern part of the country, if a man does not pay the bride price of his wife to be, it is believed not to be a valid marriage union. All the children the woman gives birth to belong to her father. And they have a way around this practice. In fact, if such a woman dies, the man will be asked to marry her properly by paying her bride price and performing all that is expected of him traditionally before she can be buried.
Traditionally a woman who moves to live with her man without the traditional rite is on her own. If anything goes wrong in that relationship she will not have family support in some cases.
Getting pregnant does not excuse a man from paying the bride price of the woman he intends to marry where I come from. Bride Price is simply putting a value on the woman by the suitor and his family. Getting pregnant does not reduce the woman’s value. In fact, children are seen as blessings.
Bride Price is very important so it is required of a man to pay even if your wife to be, gets pregnant. Now how much you pay depends on the family and their cultural practice/belief.
Do you pay the bride price in your culture, how is it done? Please share.
Adebisi Adetunji (C)