FORMER Big Brother Zimbabwe representative and socialite Pokello Nare got married in the capital recently and her bride price of $25 000 has sent tongues wagging.
She has always been a newsmaker whose love life was followed with so much zeal and passion by the media. The same media has reported that the marriage formalities were done amid family politics with revelations that her biological father, Retired Colonel George Nare who is based in Bulawayo was snubbed. He was not invited for the ceremony.
He seems to have accepted it and blessed the marriage. He did this through the media though. However, it is the amount of money that is rumoured to have been paid that some people feel was too much.
Reports are that the groom — Elikem Kurmodzie who is Ghanaian parted with $25 000, an equivalent of 71 cattle if one is to put the price of each beast at $350 for argument’s sake.
Well, we didn’t hear that he was complaining and we assume that he did it heartily for the woman he loves. At least he could afford it although in the eyes of many it was an arm and a leg.
Those who have been saying she was overpriced were taking into consideration her not so smart love background that is punctuated with her having a child and the leaked sex tape with celebrity rapper Stunner, real name Desmond Chideme.
The leaked sex tape went public but it did nothing to affect her popularity, in fact it seemed to have buoyed her social status more than it dented her life as it did to other celebrities who we are not going to mention.
In the past, a woman who has her own children was not valued as much as a virgin in marriage rites in most African societies and those that argue that she was overpriced base their argument on that and seem to go further and include the leaked sex tape that made her body known to the most ordinary man who could access it, just like in a porn movie.
But culture is dynamic and we have to accept that. Virginity is no longer as valued as it used to be back then and immoral behaviour among youths seems to be taking centre stage.
Sunday Leisure spoke to various people who expressed mixed feelings over the $25 000 amount that is reported to have been paid.
“It is really surprising. And for you guys to publish that such an amount was paid for someone with a sordid love past like Pokello gives a bad impression to our girl children that you can do all sorts of things immoral and still get married. It is just like someone paying a porn star that amount for a hand in marriage. People have to value our culture and respect their bodies,” said a Bulawayo model who requested anonymity.
Some, however, felt that it was too harsh for people to play the rewind button on Pokello’s past love life especially that she has managed to transform herself and was ready to settle down.
“That lady really worked. It is unfortunate that we still have among us haters who feel forgiving is painful. She has managed to carve a name for herself as a renowned socialite and it is that name that Elikem is now marrying. He loves her with her past. After all we all have some unfortunate pasts. It’s not about not virginity or having a baby from a previous relationship, it’s about how you carry yourself after such things happen.
“The fact that Elikem is not complaining speaks loud enough that he was comfortable paying that amount. He may even say it was less than he expected if you ask him. She is really worth that amount considering the amount of work she has put into her life and her looks too,” said another socialite.
Historian and cultural activist Pathisa Nyathi said the image that Pokello now carried nullified what she had done in the past.
He said lobola was not fixed. Therefore her current social status played a role. Nyathi said she managed to acquire her celebrity status on her own and that the nation knew her father through her and not vice-versa.
“Culturally, lobola is not fixed. It’s usually the status that people look at. She has a child yes, the sex tape yes it was leaked but that does not necessarily cheapen her considering the amount of work she had to put especially after Big Brother. In terms of cattle that would make 50 if we put one beast at $500.
“Going back in history I only know that a man called Mehlomakhulu Dlodlo paid 100 cattle for King Mzilikazi’s daughter Bhitshi who was the daughter of Queen Loziba in Inyathi for her hand in marriage. But of-course that was when one was marrying royalty.
“So lobola is usually determined by what your circumstances are and in this case she is a public figure who carved a niche for herself as a socialite and got herself a young man with the means and ability to pay and that can equal royalty,” said Nyathi.
An online publication in Ghana revealed that lobola was more expensive in the northern parts of Ghana where people there can charge up to $10 000.
The bride price, according to Nana Alhaji, member of a royal family in Ghana, and one of the thousands of Ghanaians living in Northern Virginia includes drinks, clothes, necklaces, earrings and other ladies’ items. If the girl is from the northern part of Ghana, the bride price may also include salt, kola nut, goat, guinea fowl, sheep and cattle. A cash component is invariably part of the bride price.
The publication said when Ntonghawah, a native of Cameroon, another West African country, asked for the hand of his girlfriend in marriage, he was aware of the customary practices that he would have to fulfil to qualify to marry her.
“When both of our parents sat down, they told us what is required to marry a woman in Ghana. You have to provide a box containing eight unsown clothes, a ring, a Bible, bra, jewelleries, four bottles of liquor and anything that can make your wife look beautiful,” Ntonghawah said.
“As far as money is concerned, they initially asked us to pay $5 000 but after some back and forth discussion, my wife’s family accepted that we pay $2 000.”
Richard Kusi, a 37-year-old social studies student at George Mason University, paid many times more in bride price than Ntonghawah. Kusi wedded Bonsu Stephanie in Woodbridge.
“My wife is from the Northern part of Ghana and it is very expensive to wed a woman from there. They asked for $10 000 excluding the clothes and other basic things. But I ended up paying about $7 000.”
Pokello and Elikem hooked up on Big Brother Africa — The Chase and never turned back on their love although it has had a fair share of its ups and downs with reports of Elikem going out with a married woman in Ghana.