By Bida Elly David
The National Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Albino Bol Dhieu has raised concerns over random and high charges of bride price by some communities.
The Minister urged parents to reduce the excessive charges paving ways to unsuccessful marriages especially the youth.
Dr. Bol Dhieu made the remarks last week, saying that high dowry on marriages has impacted negatively the young people and are losing interest on courtship.
“Most communities these days especially those that practice pastoralism normally use cows and goats as traditional charges for paying bride price. Bride price differs from one community to another,” the Minister said.
“High bride price contributes towards many challenges especially to those who can’t meet their demand. Some men go borrowing and others go on cattle rustling to marry women of their choice,” he continued.
Dr. Albino had raised criticisms on some communities that auction their daughters to rich men charging highly with the aim of financial benefits at family levels.
He underscored that some communities’ charges 40 to 100 cows for bride price which totally discourages young men emerging from poor families.
Albino challenged parents, saying such practices are a factor that has caused gender-based violence as men observe women as their property instead.
Based on findings done in 2016 by the Germany-based Development and Cooperation Centre, it was reported that high dowry prices in South Sudan resulted in detrimental consequences such as child marriage, forced marriage and cattle raiding to meet marriage standards.
The report stated that excessive bride price became a burden on many youths and families with some men taking loans and others going into rustling cattle for marriage success.
The government official said that among some communities in South Sudan, live stock has been used as a mechanism of charges upon marriages.
However, he discouraged the practice and urged parents to reduce the heavy bride price to enable couples to marry themselves and live peacefully.
On his part, Isaac Malish 36, whose girlfriend was auctioned by her parents to a business tycoon, said that he was almost committing suicide after being rejected by the parents of a girl whom he was engaged due to his status of poverty.
Isaac said that, they were for a long-term courtship with his girlfriend before the tension arose between him and the girl’s family.
“I started a relationship with my girlfriend at the age of 20 when both of us were at our first university entry. We had promised to be together by force by fire till marriage but all of a sudden, our promise was torn apart after my girlfriend was forced to marry a man of high financial status. Despite the fact that my girlfriend’s parents forced her into the marriage, the 40-year-old man who has won the race abandoned the innocent girl leaving her in dilemma with their two babies,” Isaac said.
He urged parents to be cautious towards some decisions taken on their daughters; he pitied young men and women who are given the choice, thus terming marriage as a choice but not a force.