FRANCISTOWN: Kgosi Christopher Masunga has called on authorities to set a standard price for bogadi as a way of curbing marriage breakdowns and using women as a business enterprise.
Masunga, who is also president of the northern Customary Court of Appeal, said that some women and parents take lobola (bogadi) as a ‘get-rich-quick scheme’ that is reflected by the high bride price charges.
“Some youth prefer not to marry because of high lobola prices and it seems like lobola is no longer a gratitude to the woman’s parents for blessing the marriage but a money making scheme to some parents. These high lobola prices have caused a lot of marriages to fall apart,” said Masunga.
He cautioned that marriage may no longer be serving its purpose as issues of bride price and claims of marriage breakdown continue to be a problem in customary courts.
Masunga raised the concern during a cultural day celebration in Natale village recently and in an interview with Mmegi.
He revealed that their court is overwhelmed with complaints from married couples, some of which could have been resolved at family level.
He said parents used to settle marriage related problems and there were few divorces as compared to today.
“I plead with parents to teach their children to raise any complaint in their marriage to them first because they are the ones who spearheaded their marriage and can mediate better than courts,” said Masunga.
He encouraged parents to teach their children about what marriage entails. Masunga said marriage problems should be handled by the family and courts should be the last resort.
“This is usually common amongst women and they always push for divorce after benefiting from their partners hence the cause of the escalating passion killings,” said Masunga.
“Youth today get married whilst imitating their friends, peers, hence in future they struggle to sustain themselves in marriage,” said Masunga.
He said some parents do not realise that by requesting high lobola prices they are in fact negatively impacting their children’s relations. “Most of them claim that they have worked hard to raise and educate their daughters as the reason to charge a lot for her hand in marriage whilst the son’s parents would have spent a lot as well in raising their child,” observed Masunga.
Masunga suggested a standard price for lobola stating that their courts are also overwhelmed with cases of marriage wrecking wherein the aggrieved wives are demanding huge sums of money as compensation.
Meanwhile Masunga said they are currently touring customary courts to educate people on marriage.