Marriage Vs Bridewealth

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In most societies, marriage involves a transfer of goods and/or services between families and kin groups. In these cases, this forms an alliance between two lineage or kin groups, expressed in terms of affinity. The terms for relative by marriage are affinity. Since marriage will involve transactions, it is usually accompanied by some form of property transfers. Bridewealth is paid for the bride by the groom, very often by his kin group – often in 'exchange' for the labour and services of a wife. A dowry, on the other hand, is a presentation that goes from the bride's family to a husband (Lye & Murray, 1980).

21. Transacting Marriage and Bridewealth. Bridewealth has a valued part in the African culture and will always. In a cultural
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It is, however, not true that individuals adhering to a system of customary law only have rights pertaining to the group. Individual rights also are recognised although these rights must be exercised within the group. In terms of customary law a man may marry more than one wife - a woman may not marry more than one husband. There is no restriction on the number of wives a husband may have, except that he should be able to maintain all of his wives and that lobolo should be paid for each one. Different family units are created. Each spouse in a multiple household has her own status and authority, forms a separate unit and has a form of independence. The status and “rank” of the house depend largely on the woman’s social prestige, her relationship to the other households and the status of her children in relation to intestate succession (DuPlessis, 1991). The Customary Law is discriminatory in such a way that: a woman cannot marry or acquire property without the permission of a (male) guardian, marriage requires the payment of a bride price (lobolo) in exchange for the right to access her procreative abilities and economic value, marriage makes the male the sole guardian of the children moreover and lastly, upon the death of a husband, the estate is transferred to is closest male relative (levirate). With regards to the Customary Law, the woman does not have…show more content…
It includes things such as polygamy- a system whereby a man has more than one wife; this represents the wealth of a man because it shows that he has a great number of cattle to attract women. In most traditional marriages, if the woman cannot have children, the man will have to engage in sexual intercourse with her younger sister so that the wealth stays within the family or clan, this is commonly known as “ukungenwa” in my culture which is the Zulu culture. Moreover, there is a common practice known as birth sex whereby a woman cannot be involved in sexual intercourse after giving birth as this process allows for time to nurture the child until they are approximately 2 years. However, this kind of marriage contradicts with the customary marriage, in that the rights of the woman are not visibly protected under the agreements protracted under such a marriage. Thus, it may be possible that in South Africa, a woman may have contracted marriage under customary principles, which is recognised as valid by a court, but is also subject to the traditional forms of marriage and will have similar rights as most western marriages do

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