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Sunday, 7 November 2010

How the Batooro chose a partner

Good Shepherd School for Special Needs Children at Fort Portal is where the Batooro Tribe live.
 They are said to have broken off from the great kingdom of Bunyoro during the time of Omukama Kabalega. Kamurasi his brother rebelled and ran away forming a separate kingdom currently occupying mostly Kabarole and Kyenjojo district.
Traditionally before colonialism families used to choose marriage partners for their children. The girls had no say in deciding who to get married to. Parents through friends would identify a man who was looking for a woman to marry and request the parents of the girl to accept their proposal.
Both sides would sit to negotiate the dowry (which was usually cows) and all this would happen without the knowledge of the girl and her mother. After the bridegroom's side completed the payment of dowry then a date would be set when the girl would be taken.
A traditional suit (omutooro) would be prepared for the girl behind her back. Her paternal aunt and her mother would then be informed to prepare the girl. This was done through teaching the girl on how to manage her marriage. She was told things like 'you are ripe for marriage, a man has been identified to marry you and he has already paid dowry'. She was also told she could not refuse to get married to a man whom your clan has appreciated for you. She was also urged to be obedient and to implore to be clean both her personal hygiene and her home.
The bride to be was also taught to respect her in-laws as if they were here own parents. Also she was to be generous and share with her neighbors especially if she harvested before them. She was to give them part of her harvest. Most families were monogamous. It was prestigious for a man to have many wives and children. In some cases the young girl would get married as the second, third even fourth wife in the family. However the rest of the wives were expected to respect the first wife. In polygamous marriages all the wives and children and their husband would live, eat; dig, fetch firewood together, and the wives would cook in turns.
Upon the arrival of the first missionaries the Gospel was spread allover Uganda. Many were converted to Christianity and a large number of the Batooro are Catholics as well as Anglican. Islam is also a prominent religion. It is rare for people to get married in this traditional way. Currently when a young lady meets a lad and accepts his marriage proposal, she will tell her parents about him and with their approval arranges for an introduction ceremony. This is called okweranga where the bridegroom and his family officially visit the bride's home to meet the parents. These days even a certificate is given by the kingdom and the two have a valid African marriage. Although in many cases they later have a church or Islam ceremony.

The bride on the right-hand side and a friend who escorted her for the give away ceremony

The groom, second on the right hand side and his companions drinking milk from ebyanzi (jars) presented to them by the bride's family.

The bride is escorted by her friends before the guests from the groom's home.

 Bride and friends before guests so that the groom can publicly choose his bride.

The groom chooses his bride and gives her a special necklace as a token of his love and identification.

The groom asks the girls parents for permission to marry her and after he is accepted the girl gives her groom a flower.
Then the bride and groom signing a certificate from the kingdom.

Sent from my iPad but written by Doris Kahuura

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