The Latuka tribe of South Sudan allows men who wish to marry a girl to first kidnap her from her home and then return to ask for her hand in marriage from her father.
According to their history, the Latukas embody a communal lifestyle where nothing is kept from anybody: they practice a system of sharing and as such, no single person rules over them. Instead, they have a group of elders who are vested with the authority to guide them.
Like a lot of things in Latuka, one thing that has not changed over the years despite great criticism, is their marriage tradition.
Two highly interesting details about the marriage style of the Latuka people of South Sudan will interest you:
In Latuka, when a young man wants to marry a girl, he kidnaps her from her home. It is after this act that he goes to visit the girl’s father along with his elder male relatives to ask for the blessing to marry.
With the girl still in his possession, her father is left with a choice on whether or not to agree to the proposal by this suitor. The response of a “yes” or “no” from the father comes with its separate ceremonial activities.
If he says ‘YES’ and blesses their marriage, he is expected to beat his prospective son-in-law to show consent.
This action explains that the man is willing to be beaten for her. It’s about the sacrifices he’s willing to make for the woman he loves.
However, if he says ‘NO’, the choice is left in the hands of the suitor: The young man is at liberty to decide whether to return the kidnapped girl to her father’s house or go ahead and marry her as he so wishes.
Like many traditions in Africa, the marriage rite of the Latuka tribe belongs in the class of culture that needs changing.
Kidnapping a woman and giving her no say in whom she gets to spend the rest of her life with takes us back decades in the progress achieved by feminism.