A wealthy man living South Sudan, has pledged 500 cows, cars [3 V8s] as a bride price for a girl he wants to marry as a wife. The vast majority of marriages in southern Sudan are thought to be families selling their daughters by exchanging cows.
The price of the bride is usually between 20 and 40 cows, each worth between 5,000 and 21,000 pounds of South Sudanese [SSP]. A source knowing both the mogul and the future wife in South Sudan, V8 cars can cost as little as $5,000 [18 Shs] or $10,000 [Shs37m] used in Dubai or $25,000 [Shs94m] new car from Dubai.
Apparently, most V8s in South Sudan are used cars imported from Japan. The girl who is given such a value is Nyalong Ngong Deng Jalang – currently the most “expensive” girl by African standards.
Nyalong is from Awerial, in the state of Eastern lakes, commonly known as Yirol. According to the report, five men lined up in fierce competition to marry her. The businessman Kok Alat leads the race with 500 cows and 3 V8 cars. According to the source, who told Edge.ug that although many men want to marry her, Nyalong’s family has not yet agreed.
For the moment, nobody knows if she has agreed to get married. According to the source, Kok Alat promised that the price of the abnormal bride would scare the multitude of suitors. “Kok already has 9 women. She will be the 10th if he accepted to marry him. So, to improve his chances, he promised a lot of cows and cars thinking it might get him notice.”
According to South Sudan customary law, the law states that the maximum dowry is 30 cows. “So, even if he pays 500 and they get divorced, he will only get 30 cows because that’s what customary law provides.”
Kok Alat is a self-taught and successful businessman. He started his activity in the 90’s at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Turkana County, Kenya, borrowing 250 Irish shillings from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), an NGO that intervenes in the worst crises humanitarian organizations and help people survive and rebuild.
Since then, it has become a multi-million-dollar company in Southern Sudan. David Mayom Riak, acting governor of Eastern Lakes, also competed with him for the heart of Nyalong. As we have learned, Nyalong is still a minor since she is now 17 years old. But by the time the marriage is concluded, if she agrees to get married, she will be 18 years old.
The constitution of Southern Sudan does not specify at what age a girl can marry. It simply means that someone must have “marriageable age” without giving a number. As we gather, in the Dinka and Nuer culture [the dominant tribes], a person becomes nubile when she is initiated at 16 or 17 years of age. In South Sudan, customary law is in force and therefore such a person is considered an adult by customary law.