Bogadi Stays

Still on the topic of young beautiful girls, the issue of bride price (bogadi) continues to be a hot topic, one that is never ending it seems. Only this time around, it is trending after Botswana’s ultimate beauty queen; former Miss Universe Mpule Kwelagobe tied the knot to her international prince charming in the country last week.

Many people still recall the day she was crowned like it only happened yesterday. Her crowning will forever be entrenched on our minds. Who can forget that day when one of our own did the unthinkable, beating 90 beautiful girls from all over the world to snatch the converted Miss Universe crown from right under their noses, in a pageant owned by Donald Trump himself, that US chatterbox and multimillionaire who fancies himself as America’s next president? Yes our girl went on to win that diamond encrusted crown, then later wined and dined in style with the world’s royalty.

I still recall the day she arrived back in the country, how we all thronged the airport, where she arrived in the Presidential jet. Then later, we all made a beeline for the national stadium to welcome her in style. She had ‘put us on the map’, whatever that even means.

The moment she was crowned, we knew she was destined for greater and better things, far from this continent. It’s a fact that most people, I suspect even her family, simply long accepted on the night of her crowning.

All the time she has been out of the country, we have heard nothing but inspiring and positive things about her, she has represented us very well even in foreign countries, where celebrities like her live their lives like caged animals, where every aspect of their lives is put under microscopic lenses. A simple thing such as sneezing in public becomes breaking news if you are a person of her stature.

So our golden girl is back in the country, and the best part, she will go back abroad as a married lady. She could have done it the celebrity way and married at some private Island like other celebs, but no, our girl chose to come back home and marry the traditional and ‘normal’ way.

Only the news of her nuptials came into the public domain on account of her alleged ‘hefty’ bride price. I for one sincerely hope that the allegations are true, deep down I even berate the uncles for not going the whole mile! In some cultures, and I suspect even where she is going, camels, and not cattle, are fit for queens like her!

I am also of the opinion that the issue of bogadi has over the years been lost, diluted and completely distorted deliberately. Sadly, some custodians of our culture are at the forefront of this attempt at killing this noble piece of our culture. From way back, Bogadi has been a simple societal custom that propagates the idea that the man should be the backbone of the family, nothing more, nothing less. If a man cannot afford to pay the bride price, then how will he be able to look after his wife and his children?

The practice, as traditionalist would tell you, is also a sign of appreciation to the bride’s mother, that she raised her daughter well.

I am yet to hear of anyone making an irresponsible and clumsy village drunk their wife, so this assertion is far from being outrageous. Men, even the hopeless of them all, if they can afford it, pick the best girl. It is a fact of life.

When the news of Mpule’s nuptials did the rounds, the rumour mill immediately went into overdrive to an extent where it totally eclipsed the wedding itself. The sooner someone tells men that bogadi will never be abolished in this country, at least in our lifetime, the better.  There exists no valid reason why the practice should be abolished. Bogadi has outlived two World Wars, even the worst world recession of our times.

The practice stays, its final.  Bogadi should be viewed as a source of pride, not only to the bride’s family, but even more to the man’s family! Personally I would never ever join anybody’s family where this practice is not observed, that even applies to my daughter.

It doesn’t even matter how many times a woman goes through the process; it is just what it is. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at this, this latest debate has once more brought my village in the spotlight.

I pray the rumour of the bride price is true. It was time somebody raised the stakes that high, quality after all, comes at great cost.

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