Pooling resources. Finding a potential wife today is one thing, and yet when you do, marrying her is something else. As is the norm, people have sought financial help from friends to fund their marriage ceremonies, but how right is it? Brian Mutebi finds out.
In the African culture, marrying a woman has never been a one-man affair. It is one of those moments that bring families and villages together. So it is no surprise to find people seeking help, in form of resources, from friends and even strangers.
The irony, though, is that the same African culture expects a man intending to marry to prove his manhood and ability to look after his wife and family, by demonstrating so. But how else could a man best prove his ability to look after his wife other than by paying substantial dowry?
While in the past, a father or the elders arranged a marriage for their son and went on to fund the marriage ceremony, the case is not the same today, where all the man does is hunt, present his catch to his family, and begin preparation.
And then that is where the budget is drawn and copies passed around to friends, work colleagues and acquaintances, to fundraise for the marriage ceremony. Some people will give cheerfully and, often generously.
Many times I have come across people who murmur in hush tones about the thought of contributing to someone’s Introduction ceremony?
So, the question is, should non-family members contribute towards one’s introduction ceremony? Should you solicit funds for that traditional ceremony?
For Ezekiel Basalirwa, contribution to either function should be fine. The civil engineer and father of one, says if one is to contribute money towards a friend’s marriage ceremony, they should do so without attaching any strings. Otherwise if one chose to tie his contribution to a specific function, the actual wedding or introduction, that would tantamount to choosing what is best for the couple.
“The introduction ceremony is part of the marriage process, so if I choose to give money to a friend, there is no reason I should not contribute towards that ceremony,” Basalirwa says.
He adds that sometimes fundraising for the introduction ceremony and the actual wedding is done concurrently. “How then do you separate the monies? Do I say this money is for this and not for that? I should dare not decide what is best for him. I give him the money in good faith and let him use it as he sees fit,” Basalirwa says.
How important is it?
Frank Kakembo, a secondary school teacher in Wakiso District, explains that it is important for a person to contribute towards their friend’s introduction ceremony.
“You may want to wait until the actual wedding is due and contribute but what if he failed to raise enough resources for the introduction ceremony and the girl’s parents refused him from marrying their daughter? Wouldn’t your intended contribution be in vain? It is rather important that you support your friend get license to wed that girl and thereafter negotiate how to deal with the actual wedding party,” says Kakembo.
Abbas Kiyimba, a businessman, however says an introduction ceremony is a personal or family matter for the groom-to-be.
“I contribute towards weddings but not an introduction ceremony,” he says, adding that asking friends to contribute towards your introduction ceremony is shifting responsibility from yourself to friends, or bluntly stated, being burdensome.
“A wedding party is a celebration of achievement — achievement of getting a wife, and there are standard items expected at a wedding party that relatives and friends can joyfully contribute towards but an introduction ceremony is purely a family and personal affair. It depends on how much, in gifts, one wants to give as dowry or what the girl’s family asks for, which is still personal. I never contribute to that,” Kiyimba says.
He adds that paying dowry is an act of thanksgiving to the girl’s parents or family. So he argues that one ought not to thank his in-laws with items donated to him by friends.
Edward Kikabuzi, a 78-year-old elder in Kitebi, Rubaga, says in the past all depended on the financial status of the family.
“If a particular family knew that their contribution would be enough, then there was no need to involve everybody else, but if they were not as rich, it was fine to involve the community, since after all the process of marrying a wife was a community affair,” he says.
Contributing towards a friend’s introduction ceremony may thus be a personal decision, depending on the prevailing circumstances; financial status and how close you are with the people involved.
What people say
IT IS WRONG TO FUND AN INTRODUCTION
“If someone wants people to help him fundraise money for his wife, it implies the fundraisers can borrow her as well since they helped him pay for her. I would not help fundraise for any of the two,”
Jimmy Kazibwe, Businessman
“I would only contribute to someone’s wedding, but not introduction. If a man cannot collect money for the introduction ceremony, it implies he does not value his wife. When friends help in the fundraising, they even end up boasting that if it weren’t for them, the couple would not be married,”
Nancy Kisakye, Caterer
“Marriage should be done when you feel you are ready. Fundraising encourages laziness since they know others will collect money for them. It even results in theft. I would not contribute to the traditional wedding because that is a family affair,”
Ivan .A. Bogere, Educationist
“If it is a man, I would only contribute for the wedding and not for the introduction because that is more of a family ceremony. In case it is a woman, I would contribute Shs50,000 for both the wedding and introduction,”
Anita Wanyana, Medic
A FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED?
“Yes I would help fundraise for both functions, depending on the relationship between us. For example, if he is a family member, I would contribute because we need one another. A friend in need is a friend indeed,”
Molly Kyakunzire, Accountant
“I would contribute to both the wedding and introduction ceremony because I could find myself in the same position one day,”
Ivan Semakula, Businessman
“I would fundraise money for my friend because it is what shows we are friends. If my friend is in need, I have to help them because today it is them but tomorrow it could be me. No man is an island,”
Clare Nassamula, Photo editor
“I would contribute for both functions because as long as someone is my friend, I help them in everything. There are moments when I am broke and my friend helps me out too,”
Godfrey Nsubuga, Self employed
Compiled by Carol Nambowa