Dowry Talk

     I got wayyyyy too distracted today surfing the web. In my aimless search, I came across this beautiful couple:

Christian Parkinson & Kutlwano Maliabe
Photo Credit: BBC News

     They were married in late 2010 in South Africa. And, I was fascinated with their particular courtship. It got me much would my Dowry be?...I mean I'm educated, have no children, and have been considered beautiful on more than one occasion. According to Christian, these are premium traits when doing Dowry Talk. Good to know.

      Here are a few snippets from their story (As told by Christian):

     Here in South Africa they call it lobola or bohali. But the tradition of paying a dowry of cattle for your wife is practised across Africa.
     When I first met Kutlwano, two years ago, the tradition struck me as archaic and somehow demeaning to women.
     But I've seen how important it is here and how seriously it's taken. 
     When I realised that I'd finally met the woman I wanted to marry, I knew I had to do things the African way - and hopefully earn the respect of Kutlwano's family. 
     Bohali isn't a simple procedure. It is a long, elaborate process with many rules - each depending on the tribe and inclinations of the families involved. 
    My first duty was to write a letter to Kuts' father, informing him that my family intended to pay a visit. [...]
     As for Kutlwano, she was excited but also worried that her family would expect too high a price for her.
     She is educated, beautiful and doesn't have any children. All of which puts her at a premium. And people here tend to assume that white foreigners are rich. (I'm certainly not.) 
     Kutlwano spoke in private to her mother. Word came back that we shouldn't worry. The price would be fair, and not based on my nationality.
Back home in Leicester, mixed-race couples are not a big deal. Here in South Africa they are still very rare. 
People often stare at us if we hold hands in public, though mostly they're just intrigued. [...]
     Even in modern, urban South Africa, the cow remains the unit of negotiation.
     Then the bidding started.
     It's considered bad form in South Africa to talk openly about how much you paid for a wife. Let's just say it cost me a herd. And it was worth every cow. [...]
     But that's not the end of the wedding ceremony.
     Twelve weeks later, I'm back on the same street in Soweto. This time I'm wearing a traditional lampshade-shaped Sotho hat, an off-white linen suit and brown sandals. Not my usual style. 
     I'm dancing, clumsily, down the road - my entourage singing Sotho songs and laughing at my footwork. 
     The whole neighbourhood is out in force, singing and shouting encouragement.
     I reach Kutlwano's home, and push my way through the wall of people surrounding her, pulling her away from her family, and into mine, completing the ritual. 

Wisdom's Knocking:

Know your worth.