News / Africa

    S. Sudan Girls Urge Parents Not to Marry Off Daughters for Dowries

    Sixteen-year-old Akuot, shown here in Bor, Jonglei state, in Feburary 2013, was beaten for three days after she refused to be married off in exchange for a dowry of cattle.
    Sixteen-year-old Akuot, shown here in Bor, Jonglei state, in Feburary 2013, was beaten for three days after she refused to be married off in exchange for a dowry of cattle.
    Bonifacio Taban
    South Sudan dowry prices are spiralling out of control, critics say, and now girls are complaining that the high price their families can get for marrying them off is encouraging their parents to accept dowries for younger and younger girls.

    Seventeen-year-old Unity State resident Nyapar Gatyiel Puok says she's lucky that she's still not married. Girls as young as 13 in her community have been married off by their parents, in exchange for a dowry payment of dozens of cattle.

    She called on the government to put a cap on dowry prices or to enforce a minimum age for marriage, saying that the alternative is that dowries will continue to rise and girls will continue to be married off too young.

    “A girl should not be married before  she is 20 years old, because if she reaches 20 years of age, she is able to have responsibility and to know how to do work at home. At 13, 14, 15, that causes stress and that's not good," she said.

    According to statistics from South Sudan’s Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, nearly half of South Sudanese girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are married, many of them against their will. Girls as young as 12 are married off sometimes, in exchange for a dowry.

    Chudier Koryom Diew, a teacher, says dowry rates  are out of control and can bankrupt a family.

    “Some people, they are using their ladies or their girls as A source of
    income, so when you have two daughters it means you will have at
    least 300 cows," Diew said.

    Unity state's Minister for Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Lubna Abdelgani, says the practice of high dowries was recent and probably introduced by people from outside the local area.

    Her ministry is mulling a law to cap dowries, and she hopes it would reduce the number of early marriages in the community and help families who cannot afford to pay 100 or more cows for a dowry.

    But there are dissenting voices, like that of 15-year-old Nyamal William Bol.

    “Dowries should not be eliminated because there are some girls who
    may cost a lot to achieve their studies in various colleges and universities, so the only way to pay back to her parents is to pay dowries when it comes to marriage,” Bol said.

    Bol plans to finish university before she gets married, and expects to get a sizeable dowry for her family.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ray King from: Nigeria
    June 28, 2013 6:59 AM
    These are very crude human beings who dont know the value of children(girls). Please just call this TRADE BY BARTER. It is simply the exchange of girls for cows. Ancient idiots!

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora