The Lokoya believe in the institution of marriage as a mean for child-bearing. It is considered a matter of prestige in the village; a blessing from god and the great ancestors. When one marries, one is welcomed into the family of married people as a leader and responsible gentleman or Monyomiji. One commands respect from the community. The society believes that he or she has entered life to bear children who will defend the community as a whole. No one is content with the children of others. The Lokoya believe that having one's own children means that even if one dies one will be remembered after death. Those who die without any children are considered to have gone into extinction.So, among the Lokoya child-bearing is considered a life-time achievement.
The parents keep on watching their children grow with interest. In their hearts they earmark certain girls or boys for hopeful future marriage to their children. The Lokoya therefore pay bride-wealth because a woman once married is given away to another family or clan. She will produce children for a distant family. She will offer services to that clan and when her people visit her they are viewed as outsiders. Some say that the bride-wealth is paid to show that the girl is married and thus nobody should tamper with her. The moment a woman is identified as a married person, men fear to approach her for love and instead she is offered respect. There are those who believe that the bride-wealth is paid as part of the respect for the family and to meet the cost of caring, growth and giving her away as a wife.
Like in many other African ethnic groups in Southern Sudan, the duty of courtship, etharama in Lokoya, entirely depends on the boys and the girls. When they have reached the age of twelve, the girls beautify themselves with ornaments round their necks, wrists, ankles and legs. The breasts are often naked and swollen with natural,
shining attraction. The boys also show off their physique. They wear feathers and blow the ohilere flute in praise of the girls of their choices. The boys and girls meet each other for courtship on the road to the river or stream while going to fetch water or in the ajothitha and the apipira, sleeping quarters where they sleep m groups
From time to time, those who fall in love, amuno, take each other aside to express in private how they feel towards each other Further dates for appointment are made. This is repeated many times. Lokoya girls do not take first contacts and discussions of love seriously. They show a lot of doubt and a negative attitude throughout the first two months of frequent appointments. This attitude keeps the boys on their toes, mobilizing their friends to go and persuade the girls to accept their love proposals. Boys may ask friends, sisters and sometimes their mothers and fathers to assist them as go-betweens in their difficult task of courting. This may be done through indirect contacts best known to them, using tactics to influence the girls or their parents to accept the proposal for betrothal. The second type of courting is through the recommendation of the parents. The girls or boys are reminded that if they marry the daughter or son of so and so, the whole clan will be happy. For example, they can say to the girl: The boy is gentle, kind and hard working. He comes from a family which is free from wizards, ademia, and they have the bride-wealth
Even if they marry you without paying the bride-wealth, our daughter, we are not worried at all. The parents act as intermediaries to bring the girl and the boy into contact. Thereafter, they are left alone to complete the rest of the courting themselves. The third type of courting comes from the parents of the girl and the boy. Usually, when the boy and the girl, are approaching the age of 12, the parents examine their relationship. If the mother or father has been friendly to the family of the girl to the extent that they want to cement their friendship further, they may agree to arrange the marriage for the youngsters. The parents of the girl, after accepting the proposal, receive some bride-wealth for “booking” the girl, efficio, and their parents keep reminding the girl that so and so is her husband. In the meantime the parents of the boy assist the parents-in-law by doing service such as cultivation or building a fence or house, erasa. If the boy and the girl become of age, and they agree to live as husband and wife, then this becomes an arranged marriage, effichio.
In some cases, on becoming of age, the boy and girl may realize that they do not love each other. The girl will find herself another boy as her fiancé .
When parents are opposed to their marriage, they often elope to escape the parents’ opposition. The girl usually runs with her fiancé to a friend’s house There they will spend one to two days of honeymoon. The parents of the girl will search for her. They may not find her quickly. On the second day, early in the morning, the elders of the bridegroom accompany her to the house of her parents. Usually returning the girl after being with her fiancé requires one goat for a cleansing ritual.
This is very necessary. The goat is killed and the contents of the stomach are used for cleansing the family. The girl is then allowed to join the family members after freeing her and the f from the evils. Then the new husband will pay the fine of a goat to the parents-in-law. During this period, the new husband is given some time to come and settle the bride-wealth if it has not been done. Sometimes this elopement brings serious misunderstanding and may result in a fight among, or between, the parents-in-law.
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