Bride price constitutes a type of gift that tradition places on a prospective husband to give to his in-laws mostly the bride parent's but in some cases the extended family. The norm is common across many African cultures including Nigeria. In Nigeria, common gifts includes, "30 to 50 jars of palm wine, kola nuts, clothes, umbrellas and cartons of beer, as well as food for the guests."
Since the 1980s, issues have risen such as increases in the bride price especially in Nigeria when the economy descended from the highs of the 1970s and inflationary pressures pushed up the price of goods causing many prospective husbands to think twice about marrying or marrying more than one wife. Other issues includes whether the payment of a bride price diminishes the status, rights of the wife and obligations of the husband viewing marriage as a contract in which equity and equality is enshrined.
In Hindu societies, a dowry is usually paid to the husband's family. The filial gift is sometimes used as a symbol uniting both families as the gifts are meant to represent part reimbursement of payments made on the upbringing and education of the son. In America, gift giving is usually done by both families and given to the newly weds.
In Cameroon, the customary bride price is made up of the property, services or payments made by the grooms family to the bride's family. The price is meant to recognize the value of the upbringing, education and training of the bride by her parents and also to compensate for the taking away of a food producer.
The bride price is recognized under the nation's customary law. Though, up till 2001 failure to pay a bride price negates the marriage, it is not true under the statutory law.(1)
In Zimbabwe, the bride price popularly called lobola among the Shona are payments made by the groom to the bride parents and is meant to serve as an introduction to open negotiations. The first payments goes to the negotiators representing the father and the next batch goes to the bride's father. Historically, service or token payments were made but with the advent of money more commercial terms were demanded. (2)
- Hamisu, Danpullo Rabiatu Ibrahim. Customary Bride-Price in Cameroon: Do women have a say?, Southern African Feminist Review. Harare: Mar 31, 2001. Vol. 4, Iss. 2/V.5;; pg. 65
- Chanetsa, Benhilda. Women's Feature Service. Zimbabwe: Bride Price and Violence, Women's Feature Service. New Delhi: Apr 18, 2005.