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“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.

African parents, don’t joke with them Young and not-yet-married Nowadays, in this current generation of young-and-not-yet-married, or recently married, we don’t so much as bat an eyelid when we see mixed couples, but as one uncle put it to me, “Where would you live when you retire? If you married a Nigerian, how would you cope if he wanted to retire in Nigeria? Parents’ generation In our parents’ generation we know marrying within their own culture – even tribe – was paramount as they tried to maintain cultural cohesion and identity.

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” 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.

I would prefer to date someone from the same country as me.

It’s just easier.” Bridgette (25) Congolese“I don’t mind as long as I am happy and loved, that is all that matters.” Dora (28), Zimbabwe Immerse within your own culture What I found was that those who immersed themselves exclusively in their own culture (i.e mono-cultural churches, parties, gatherings) – even if they lived in a very mixed society abroad – were the ones who were adamant that it was easier and preferable to date within their own culture.

Many question the wisdom of interracial dating, but actually, we seem to have an equally big problem with dating between one African culture and another. 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”.

Or rather, we might date outside our own culture but when it comes to marriage we are advised to stick with “our own”. 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?

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