A South Sudanese family in Aweil State on Sunday allowed their 20-year-old daughter to be married without dowry.

A gathering of about 2,000 people witnessed the marriage of Atong Aguer Aguer to her husband, Arou Arou Deng, 27.

The event in Aweil town was considered the first step in processes of the changing requirements in marriages among the Dinka people.

Santino Diing Gob, a representative of the bride’s family, told Radio Tamazuj that the girl was married off without material gains.

Diing said cattle payment or any other forms of dowry should not be viewed as key requirements without which marriages cannot take place.

He lauded his Pachier clan of the Dinka Malual community for supporting free marriages in society.

Mr. Arou Arou, who hails from Palou clan, vowed to work hand in hand with his in-laws and the entire community to reduce challenges facing young people.  

Pastor Isaiah Malek Garang, the Archbishop of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the greater Bahr el Ghazal area, blessed the marriage.

In the Dinka culture, men willing to marry need to convince the girl’s family that they have the desired qualities and are able to take good care of their daughter, and this is portrayed through the ability to meet dowry terms.

The groom and the bride are not part of the process of negotiation but their families always strive to get a better deal.

According to the Dinka and Nuer culture, the bride price is typically 20 to 40 cows. However, the bride price has risen dramatically in recent years, causing many relationships to break up.

Article 15 of the South Sudan constitution stipulates that any person of marriageable age has the right to form a family.