The intriguing link between expensive bridal gifts and the protracted civil war and political instability in South Sudan

If you think the Kikuyu have over commercialized dowry to ridiculous levels, wait until you meet the South Sudanese. Just to give you a little context and the extent of the ostentatious nature of their marriage rites, check out this story that made headlines in 2018.

For those who won’t check out the website link, here is an abridged version from the Standard newspaper. ""Nyalong Ngong Deng, a Dinka girl, whose dowry rose up to 500 cows, three Toyota Landcruiser V8s, & $10,000, attracted six suitors, all tycoons. The 17-year-old South Sudanese virgin from the Awerial area brought an end to the long extraordinary journey in search of a suitable suitor when she exchanged vows with businessman Kok Alat in a flamboyant wedding ceremony in Juba.

According to another BBC report, it says that if several men want to marry the same woman, a bidding war follows and bride price can reach 100 cattle.” In fact, as more young men bid for one girl, bride price can go up to 250 cows or more, especially in states of Warrap and Lakes. The beauty of a woman and her family’s back ground determines how many men with a lot of cattle will be attracted to her.

Obviously, many South Sudanese are not that rich, and so relatives and friends will often pitch in to help the man pay off the dowry to the girl’s family seeing that the minimum dowry price starts off at 70 cows !!!

With that context out of the way, let us present the link between political instability and the ostentatious marriage ceremonies and rites among the South Sudanese. Numerous political researchers on South Sudan will tell you that in the South Sudanese army, senior commanders will normally strengthen their position by buying loyalty from their subordinates through bridal gifts. This of course triggers nepotistic and clientelist networks that the South Sudanese political and military elites are known for, since prestige and elite ostentation is the only way you can command loyalty and respect. (Kind of the same way Kenyans feel entitled to ask for hand outs from their MPigs to contribute something small for funerals since they look rich).

Anyway, this kind of excessive dowry has been cited as a major cause for stealing public funds in South Sudan, since the military elites, or rather warlords, as well as politicians, need to heavily invest in gift-giving to not only strengthen kinship networks, but also to reward various rebel factions with bride wealth.

I wonder what then would happen if the Kenyan slay queen culture was to spread to South Sudan. What would be left to plunder anyway?

Alafu tutasaidiana kukula hiyo coomer baadaye?

Heheee…It just becomes difficult to divorce your husband after that. In fact, if your wife cheats, you can impose a fine of 100 cows on your in-laws.

Some men have gotten rich using this strategy btw where they abandon their wives after marriage and when the wife eventually gets fed up with being alone and thus finding another lover, jamaa ndio anatokea to demand reparations from the in laws, which of course they will most likely oblige

Double standards of the highest degree.

Dinka girl

virgins are worth it…

Nyan pan monjang