Love blinds common sense.” “No Nigerian, Ghanaian or Jamaican man is welcome in my house. Why is it better for me to be with a white man than it is to be with a Nigerian? How many marriages do you know of people from two different African countries that have lasted till old age? I pondered those phrases: “It’s for your own good” and “stick to your own”.

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An older woman asked me: “How many mixed cultured couples do you know who have grown old together?

” True I didn’t know any mixed elderly couples, but perhaps this is because there is a greater diversity of Africans living in the diaspora than there were 30 years ago.

However, even in Congo a country that boasts a long history of tribalism, there came a time during the Mobutu regime when he encouraged tribes and regions to unite because he understood that a united Congo meant a stronger state.

Can we apply the same line of reasoning to our argument and suggest that perhaps if we as Africans remain open to marrying people from other African countries, could we also have a stronger and united Africa?

As one uncle put it to me [I’m Congolese], “If you married a Nigerian, how would you cope if he wanted to retire in Nigeria? Could we really say that relationships would be easier if we were with someone of the same origin?

If you’re going to marry a foreigner, marry a white man.” These were the words that fell from my friend’s mother’s mouth when her daughter told her she was dating a Nigerian man because she was tired of Congolese men. ”, said my friend in response, defiantly challenging her mother, to my dismay (anybody knows better than to challenge an African mother! White people “White people don’t have much culture; it’s easy to adapt either way. Was it really for our own good to find our life partners within our own culture?

I went to a secondary school that was predominantly West African and attended a university that was predominantly white, so my choices were wide and I dated a few of those choices.

In fact I wasn’t into my own culture as much because I grew up along a lot of other nationalities, in what I call “London culture”.

“Dating is one thing, but marriage is another”, an aunty told me. Marriage and dating are two different things, clearly, but which factors are fundamental when deciding whom to marry? Love is love, as one of the respondents said, but is it better to stay within cultural boundaries to save ourselves from the potential future troubles that might result from mixing cultures – as some elders advice – or should one ignore boundaries and deal with issues if they arise? Having to decide which culture my children followed more or which one was dominant in my household is another consideration, as I find it important for reasons of identity.