When Congo meets Jamaica (click here to watch how we met)
I am from Congo and my handsome husband is from Jamaica (born in Canada). Today marks 2 years, since we had our Congolese traditional wedding ceremony.
My husband being from a different culture, we often get asked how he felt about doing the African wedding custom of paying a dowry or “the bride price.”
In Congo, we call it the “dot” (prounced dote). The shortest description of the dot is that a man who intends to marry a woman gives money and/or other forms of goods to the woman’s family in exchange for her to be his wife. Each Congolese family does it according to their principles and tribes.
Why dot (what does it mean to me)?
In my opinion, the African dowry is part of our culture. It is a gesture of honor to the parents of the bride for preparing and raising their daughter to become a wife (a helper, as the Bible says).
People often marry within their culture because it is safe. They have the same understanding in terms of values, traditions and even beliefs. Before I met my husband, he had Congolese friends. He was already aware of my culture and traditions. Since we share the same values and beliefs it was not hard for him to accept my wish of us doing the dot.
The dot was important for me because I knew it was not easy for my parents to accept their daughter marrying outside of our culture. By choosing to do the dot, it was my way of showing them that I will always cherish our culture and traditions.
Q&A With My Husband About dot.
1. How did you feel about doing the dot?
“I think the principle and culture behind it is good. Your dad was not harsh with me. I would definitely do it for my daughter, just because of the principle… but many people abuse it.”
2. If someone says to you “African people sell their daughters for marriage,” how would you reply to that?
“I would tell them that if they choose to be ignorant about other peoples’ cultures, they should also keep quiet. Those who genuinely do not know , in short, I would tell them it’s a way to show the women’s family that you could provide for their daughter”
3. What advice would you give to someone who’s also from a different culture that wants to marry a Congolese girl?
“If they want to marry a Congolese girl, they should make sure they love her. If they want to marry her but they don’t want to pay the dote, then they don’t really want to marry her.”
4. What did you love the most about the ceremony?
“My favorite part was you (me) in the African print.”