Cows are often insisted on as payment [Photo: Shutterstock]

At the risk of being ostracised by my Kikuyu people, I just have to say that the paying of bride price is a primitive and absurd tradition that needs to die. There, I said it: ruracios are stupid and we need to put an end to them. It is amazing that this medieval practice still persists in this day and age. I will be damned if I put my future husband-to-be through this idiocy. There was this story doing rounds on social media about a man who allegedly walked out on bride price negotiations after some money-hungry and opportunistic elders demanded an exorbitant amount of money in bride price.

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I applaud this man for recognising that he was being exploited and making a decision to walk away. The average man would have coughed up the amount being demanded out of fear of losing face. I guess there is a certain amount of pride that comes with being able to fork out a large amount of money for the dowry payment. It automatically elevates your status in society and in the eyes of your future family-in-law. That is all fine and dandy if you can actually afford it and if you are doing it out of your own volition. It is unbelievably dumb to fork out a preposterous amount of money on bride price then go home to a negative bank balance. It is also unfair to ask your friends and colleagues to part with their hard-earned money just so you can get an ego boost when you present a lot of money at your dowry paying ceremony.

I have seen men get themselves into crippling debts just to be able to come up with a substantial amount of money for the dowry payment. It is ridiculous! Before you cite the importance of upholding traditions as a reason why dowry payment should be held on to, you should know that we have done away with a lot of traditions over the years because as we become more progressed, we realize that some of these traditions are obsolete or downright harmful in the present-day way of life. Female genital mutilation is a good case in point.

The payment of bride price in the present day is obsolete. First of all, it objectifies women. Payment of bride price perpetuates the belief that women are property owned by men. Secondly, bride price payment should have no place in a society where men and women have equal rights and opportunities. From what I know, bride price is supposed to be given as a token of appreciation to the girl’s parents. There should be no price tag attached to this gift. However, greedy uncles have turned it into an opportunity to suck dry unsuspecting men, all in the name of tradition. Miss me with that BS!  The worst part about it all is that it is decided by bunch of men who had no bearing whatsoever on your upbringing. There is nothing that gets absentee fathers crawling out of the woodwork quite like the hint of a dowry payment ceremony.

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The way I see it, modern-day bride price payment ceremonies are nothing but a way for the super-rich to show off their wealth. It is a great opportunity to show off their extravagant fleet of cars, flashy clothes and, of course, the cherry on the cake; the huge amount of money paid. If I was a man and I had a daughter who wanted to get married, I wouldn’t accept dowry. I would rather have my daughter and her fiancé spend that money on building their house or acquiring assets so they can have financial freedom in their married life.