Rich in Cattle, Poor in Love: The High Cost of Marriage in South Sudan’s Nilotic Communities
Marriage is a sacred and joyous occasion in many cultures around the world, but for some Nilotic tribes in South Sudan, it’s a different story. The Nuer, Mundari, and Dinka tribes view marriage as the most expensive thing a person can ever think of, and they aren’t exaggerating.
In these tribes, wealth is measured in terms of cattle, which are used as a dowry in marriages. The groom’s family is required to provide a significant number of cattle to the bride’s family, which can be a heavy financial burden. The marriage procession is also a crucial part of the event, and the ceremony cost is no less expensive.
Modern weddings among these tribes are even more costly than traditional ones. The groom’s family is expected to provide even more cattle, and expensive ceremonies are conducted, adding to the already steep financial burden.
Despite the urbanization of some parts of the population, marriage among these Nilotic tribes remains very expensive and a significant burden to young men due for marriage. In some instances, the bride’s family demands more cattle than the groom’s family can afford, resulting in a significant setback for the young couple.
While the bride is a valuable asset to the groom’s family, as she works for every member of the family, the cost of marriage among these tribes remains a significant obstacle to young couples who are in love and want to build a life together.
In conclusion, marriage among South Sudan’s Nilotic tribes is indeed a costly affair that requires significant financial planning and preparation.
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