Socio-Cultural Change in Uganda: Emerging Perceptions on Bride Wealth

  • Peter Atekyereza


Uganda, like most other African nations, has interacted with so many forces in the last one century. These forces have had profound impact on the different aspects of people's lives and identities. Socio-cultural changes have particularly had significant effect on peoples' perceptions, beliefs, values, and subsequent normative standards. One of the affected socio-cultural elements in this regard is bride wealth. Bride wealth was respected very much in the traditional African process that led to marriage and, ultimately, to ideal primary family formation. Today, it faces a lot of challenges. Whereas bride wealth in marriage is perceived as one of the exploitative tools against women, especially in terms of their status and educational opportunities, the study on Bakiga, Baganda and Langi found that it is still greatly supported. This support, however, may be for incoherent or sometimes unrealistic and contradictory reasons. The paper explains the original normative meaning and rationale for, along with present attitudes to and perceived value of bride wealth in marriage among Ugandans. It concludes with an examination of the future of bride wealth in marriage, and policy implications.

(The Journal of Cultural Studies: 2001 3(2): 360-384)

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eISSN: 1595-0956