Evils of Lobola And Dowry!

As I was visiting Blogging 101 Commons today, I came across this interesting post on Mummy Got You A Daddy. She is a strong woman who comes from Zimbabwe and currently lives in South Africa with her children and husband who wants to adopt her children. I recommend you to read that wonderful post. I came to learn about the custom of Lobola in Zimbabwe where parents of a girl should be given an amount of money by a man in order to marry their daughter.

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It immediately struck me as a custom very similar to dowry in India. From female feticide to torturing and murdering innocent woman dowry has been a great villain in Indian society. A society which has been patriarchal at large considered women a liability and an object to be used. That is why a man and family who used to take the responsibility needed to be bribed for doing so. I have been reminded of benign beginnings of custom of dowry which started as parents of girls giving gifts to newlywed for making them settle well after marriage since they were going start a new family. But why only family of the girl used to give large parts of gifts? Because they were mostly settling with the family of the man using their resources so it was considered a great help on part of the girl’s family. With the passage of time this custom became so degenerated and ugly that the birth of a girl was looked doubly down upon in a culture which already used to deride it. Girl was not going to be of use for the family she was born in and now arranging for her marriage is a great trouble added upon it–a large sum of money is needed if she is to be wed into a decent family–what a burden! So, she has to live as a burden in the family of her birth and has to bear perpetual cursing and torture in the family she is going to get married into. Most of the women used to think it was evil Karma which caused their birth as women.

With various reforms and dowry act the situation has improved a great deal and will keep improving as society becomes more educated and thoughtful, still to say that the situation has completely improved will be an exaggeration. Birth of a girl child is still looked down upon in Indian society and it’s not just because of the dowry. Dowry is still a very big player in settling marriages and fathers of sons consider it an asset for their family and count on it. Families with many girls still have nightmares about their marriages. 

I recently read in the Facebook sidebar news section(I don’t follow news) about Supreme Court of India passing an act which allows women to reclaim the dowry they brought at the time of marriage, in full, in case of divorce. I will leave repercussions of it as a food for thought for the learned reader. I feel customs like Lobola and Dowry must be abolished altogether if a society is to be called healthy. Can parents in India imagine that something polar opposite of dowry exists in another country? Can parents in Zimbabwe imagine that a custom which is polar opposite of lobola exists in India? Whatever happens to their profound reasonings behind the customs their society has so ardently been following, if they do? I feel the lack of reason was the prime cause in following the baneful customs in the first place!

image courtesy: here

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28 thoughts on “Evils of Lobola And Dowry!

  1. Really interesting read, I also read the original post with eyes getting larger and larger – it got me thinking though, it wasn’t that long ago that it was custom for the brides father to pay almost exclusively for the wedding – it was just considered custom – but surely that is just as bad as a dowry or lobola – especially when the poor man had about 6 daughters! Fortunately this is no longer the case and marriages are usually financed, quite rightly, by the Bride and groom 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree it’s getting better. Though I would like to tell you that very recently an Indian friend of mine told me that her marriage was broken because side of the boy kept asking for more and more expenditure on marriage 🙂

      Like

  2. Thank you for sharing this Anand. I have learned a lot about dowry in India from this. I have always been regarded as a rebellious hot head within my family for voicing my views against most of these discriminatory traditional practices. Its sad that the well being of the woman is overlooked in parents’ thirst for money. I have a sister who is married to an abusive husband and my mother keeps telling her to stay just because he paid a lot of money. The negative implications of paying for marriage are profound and the woman who suffers doesn’t even get a dime of that money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the same things become negative for women here for slightly different reasons. How ironic is it that women has to be at the suffering end in both of these cases. I like your independent and just spirit. Thank you so much for reading and feedback 🙂

      Love and light ❤

      Anand 🙂

      Like

  3. WanderLaur

    I didn’t know much about dowry and had never heard the term lobola, so first of all – thank you for teaching me something! I find it really curious that having a daughter should be frowned up, a burden for the family. Without women, there would be no births – of girls or boys. Seems weird that women should have ever been seen in this way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking time to give feedback twice. Much appreciated 🙂

      Yes, that is tragic but true and that is what darkness/ignorance can do to us. We wonder how people can behave so strangely but when masses do such things they don’t doubt themselves until there is a great light, education and reform caused by some great movement 🙂

      Thanks, Lauren 🙂

      Love and light ❤

      Anand 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Love is definitely not enough here. Lobola/Dowry etc or not there are many things which are responsible for allowing marriage or denying it and love marriages are just beginning to make their way in modern indian society 🙂 Thank you, Lou 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Richard P.

    Dowry is an interesting topic for many cultures have used one form or another. Western cultures used the dowry as a way to pay for and encourage the marriage of a woman to a man, with payment as simple as a goat and cow to as grandiose as a house for them to live in. In America, dowry has been dropped almost entirely within the U.S. but there are still some who follow the old customs. I don’t believe in the need of dowry to bribe men or the family of said men to select one woman over another, but sadly this cultural trait does still exist throughout most of the world.

    I feel bad for the family of women who deal with that cultural aspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anand, I just had to comment on this one… As you’ve just learned I am South African, and in South Africa we have 9 different tribes (each speaking it’s own language… some are more similar than others…)
    I am a Zulu and should I decide to get married, my uncles or close (older) family males will go and negotiate lobola for me… if the girl I’m planning to marry is a virgin (or lost her virginity to me) the more money/lobola I’ll have to pay… if she’s educated and is a professional, the more lobola I’m expected to pay…
    On our side, Lobola is to thank the girl’s parents for raising a good, wife-worthy girl… I don’t know much about Dowry but… it makes me sad to say the least…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I knew only one Zulu before you: Lance Klusener who was an all rounder in the south african cricket team. What a wonderful player he was and in the 1999 world cup he smashed every team and it was such a shame that africa couldn’t make it to the finals as Steve Waugh played a dashing innings in semi-finals I think 🙂

      I totally understand lobola and the dowry is totally reversed system. Both of them are evil. Lobola must have wreaked havoc on many families. Dowry being against the fair sex, as I have also suggested in the post did more damage I suppose though I can’t really compare without having studied both of them side by side 🙂

      Thank you so much for your feedback my friend 🙂

      Love and light ❤

      Anand 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Evils of lobola and dowry! | Blogging 101: Alumni

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