This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bride Price - African Culture

Missionaries in Ghana and the surrounding 16 countries served by this MTC, will want to have a understanding of  the culture and rules surrounding marriage.  In Ghana, for example, young couples have three steps in the wedding process.  First, a meeting between the families of the bride and of the groom where Bride Price is paid.  Second, a meeting with the Bishop where the wedding is formalized.  However, the family meeting is recognized as marriage even though no document is signed.  Third, a temple sealing - the objective of every active Latter-day Saint couple.

Bride price is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom. (Compare dowry, which is paid to the groom, or used by the bride to help establish the new household, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage.) 

The agreed bride price may or may not be intended to reflect the perceived value of the girl or young woman.In parts of Africa, a traditional marriage ceremony depends on payment of a bride price to be valid. The amount can vary from a token to a great sum. 

Lobola or Lobolo is a similar tradition in some cultures in Southern Africa. In the African Great Lakes country of Uganda, the MIFUMI Project[12] held a referendum in Tororo in 2001 on whether a bride price should be a non-refundable gift. 

In 2004, it held an international conference on the bride price in Kampala, Uganda.It brought together activists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa to discuss the effect that payment of bride price has on women. Delegates also talked about ways of eliminating this practice in Africa and elsewhere. It also issued a preamble position in 2008.[13] 

In 2007 MIFUMI took the Uganda Government to the Constitutional Court wishing the court to rule that the practice of Bride Price is un-constitutional. The case was heard in September 2009 and judgement is pending. To change customary law on bride price in Uganda, however, is difficult as it is guarded by society with some women, especially in the rural areas still approving its relevance. Customary law is also considered more than just bride price but other rituals and ceremonies that enrich Ugandan cultures. Next to constitutional changes, changes in customary law are necessary to abolish the practice.[14]

Elder Oaks commented on the practice of lobola, or bride price, which "seriously interferes with young men and women keeping the commandments of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. When a young returned missionary must purchase his bride from her father by a payment so large that it takes many years to accumulate, he is unable to marry or cannot do so until he is middle-aged. This conflicts with the gospel plan for sexual purity outside marriage, for marriage, and for child rearing. Priesthood leaders should teach parents to discontinue this practice, and young people should follow the Lord’s pattern of marriage in the holy temple without waiting for the payment of a bride price."

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