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  HOME PAGE 07/07/2022 20:25 
19.05.2022 09:27 News >> Exorbitant Bride Prices Force Zimbabwean Men To Remain Single

Exorbitant Bride Prices Force Zimbabwean Men To Remain Single

High bride prices quoted by parents, guardians sour marriage dreams for men, already facing economic slowdown.

With parents or guardians charging hefty prices for brides known as "labola" in Zimbabwe, many young men in the country prefer to remain unmarried.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Jemitius Sayi, 32, said he was asked to pay $12,000 to tie the nuptial knot with his 26-year-old fiancé Marylin Hove in Mbare neighborhood in the capital Harare.
Already facing an economic slump, he decided to call off the marriage.
Like Sayi, many marriage proposals in Zimbabwe are collapsing due to exorbitant bride prices and the commercialization of the institution of marriage.
"My daughter is educated and I look forward to her husband bringing anything between $10,000 or even $15,000," said 73-year-old Daiton Ndwamba, father of 37-year-old girl Mavis.
"My parents want the money, but I also want to have my children," Mavis told Anadolu Agency.
As many Zimbabwean unmarried women watch with anguish the exorbitant bride prices being "ed by their parents, they choose to elope with their finances or live without legal formalities called cohabitation and sire children.
Linda Muhari, 35, in Harare's Dzivarasekwa high-density suburb, eloped with her fiancé 12 years ago.
"My husband has not paid anything for me. He was asked to pay $7,200. He did not have the requisite amount. So, we decided to elope," she said.
In 2020, Zimbabwe's female population amounted to approximately 7.77 million, while the male population stood at approximately 7.09 million, making the sex ratio as 91.26 males per 100 females.
As many as 5.2 million were unmarried, meaning only about 2.5 million women had been able to find partners, according to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT).
Country's economy aggravates problem
Harare-based economic expert Jason Mhute said the country's economy has aggravated the situation.
"With the economy on the precipice, jobless or self-employed men find it difficult to pay the bride price. Some parents have turned marriage formalities into businesses, charging very high bride prices and pushing many people to not even think of marriage," said Mhute.
Ignatius Tangavadura, 73, a retired high school teacher based in Mwenezi district in Zimbabwe's Masvingo province, said originally the bride price was meant as a token of appreciation paid to the parents of the girl for raising her. But over the years, it has become a custom, and the prices of this token of appreciation have become exorbitant.
"Bride prices for educated brides have become much higher. The bride price for a woman holding a master's degree or doctorate ranges anything from $15,000 to $30,000 or 15 to 20 cattle," he said.
For the girls with minimal education also, the grooms need to pay from $8,000 to $12,000 or at least a dozen cattle.
Many couples like Nhamburo and Ndwamba, to evade the exorbitant bride prices, chose to either elope without the consent of their parents or live without legal formalities called.
"If by any misfortune my wife dies, I might be forced to pay up the bride price before she is buried," said Nhamburo. -



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