Next Episode of Insight is
Season 2017 / Episode 12 and airs on 02 May 2017 10:30
Australian current affairs forum, with lively debate and powerful first-person stories. Hosted by award-winning journalist Jenny Brockie.
Dowry practices are alive and well in Australia, not only in sections of the Indian community, but dowry or bride price is widespread amongst the African and Islamic communities too.
In Melbourne, South Sudanese man Chol Goch was proud to negotiate and pay a high price for his new wife Ajah Wuoi. Ajah grew up expecting a dowry and felt more respected by her community after she recently brought in the price of $70,000.
Salpha Dut, from the same community, has been working 11 hours a day, seven days a week for the past three years in Hobart to save up for his wife who is waiting for him to afford the dowry of 250 cows before her family will let her move to Australia. Despite the hardship, Salpha doesn't have a problem with paying for a wife.
But not everyone within the community is happy to accept the traditional way of doing things without challenging it. South Sudanese lawyer Nyadol Nyuon is against dowry and says it promotes gender imbalance. She'd like to see it abolished but she recently married and accepted her husband paying a large price for her to keep her family happy. She says this highlights the cultural clash within new communities in Australia as they negotiate old traditions in a new setting.
In Sydney, Sheron Sultan, a model from a South African background, asked her Austrian boyfriend Nick Toth to pay lobola, the bride price, as she wanted to uphold her culture and keep her ancestors and family happy. But the couple struggled with the concept of paying for a wife until they interpreted the tradition in a new way to make it their own.
Similarly in Brisbane, Naseema Mustapha personalised her Islamic dowry by requesting her husband-to-be Mohamed to buy and slaughter a goat to cook it and feed the poor. And we hear from a young Indian woman in Melbourne, Roopa, who describes how the dowry custom destroyed her arranged marriage.
This week on Insight we examine the future of dowry in Australia and hear the stories of new communities struggling with old traditions.
Jenny Brockie(Jenny Brockie)
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