Research Reports

How ‘bride price’ reinforces negative stereotypes: a Ghanaian case study – The Conversation

Marriage is an institution common to all cultures. Very often it’s accompanied by transfers – in most cases in the form of payments – between the families of the groom and the bride.

These payments can be categorised into two: dowry and bride price. The dowry, more common in Asian countries, involves payments made by the bride to the groom and his family. Bride price, on the other hand, refers to the payments that a prospective groom and his family make to a prospective bride and her family. It is a very common cultural practice in Africa.

Historically, bride price payment served to validate customary marriages in most African societies. It strengthened new family bonds created by marriage and legitimised children born to marriages.

Ghanaian society has undergone major changes to its cultural practices over the past years. One that’s altered significantly is bride price. In the old days, payment was a family affair. A woman’s bride price was paid by her groom and his family. Bride price was not negotiated: the groom and his family usually decided on what and how much to pay. This would be voluntarily and willingly paid to the family of the bride.

Before Ghana was colonised by the British in 1867, bride price did not involve cash as cash had not yet been introduced into the Ghanaian economy. Instead, it included items such as bottles of schnapps, ornaments, clothes and cowries for the bride’s mother, father and brothers.

But times have changed. Bride price payment has become a more individual practice. A groom mainly funds the expenses of his marriage, though some families still provide financial support to their sons during marriage. Read the full article on The Conversation

By Stephen Baffour Adjei, University of Education

Categories: Research Reports