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An arm and a leg for a Dinka bride

"An arm and a leg for a Dinka bride" Continued...

Issue: "Trouble in Egypt," June 2, 2012

At the same time, others see nothing wrong with bride wealth practice. They say that since the Bible records the practice, it must be divine. Africans who value bride wealth highly tend to oppose anything that seems to interfere with it.

Given the overwhelming problems of war and poverty, Daau says that the practice has made it difficult for young men to find wives for marriage. "That is why many young people in our community are unable to get married," he said. "They end up impregnating young girls or eloping and running away from home."

Daau is just one example of many young Sudanese who go through the rigorous and expensive traditional process before marriage. For young Sudanese who reside out of the country-in the United States, Canada, or Australia-they often feel compelled to send more money than going rates to help relatives arrange for their marriages, Daau said.

Thus for Dinka men, finding a wife for life means spending an arm and a leg.

-Moses Wasamu is a 2012 World Journalism Institute/Africa fellow and editor of South Sudan's Christian Times, a newspaper published in Nairobi

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