You might be familiar with this question: “So when are you getting married?” The question never gets old, especially not within the African communities. The tone of the question gets more intense as you get older and as you remain single. Some can experience the question as a pressure from the older generation and someone’s answer might be: Mom, I am not getting married at all. Come to think of it, that answer is probably the worst answer you can give an African parent. African movies also paint the picture of marriage being the ultimate goal into everyone’s life. To me this is an interesting matter, which leads me to the question: Why is marriage so important to Africans and how important is this to us in the Diasporas? I ran into an interesting article on African Holocaust, which goes into the subject of Africans and marriage.
One thing we can point out is that family is important within all black communities. Look at the African-Americans, Afro-Caribbean’s, Afro-Latino’s, they all have a thing in common: family is important. Black people are more likely to regard a friend as a sister, cousin or something like it. I believe that this family orientation keeps marriage as an important element in African people’s life. If not marriage, having children is.
Africans regards marriage as two families being joined together. Even our faiths tell us this. Yet, within the western countries families almost don’t influence the decision making process of a person who is getting married. For example a European dad can disapprove of a daughter’s decision to marry a certain man, yet the daughter will probably continue, because she knows that it’s her right. Africans on the other hand, don’t allow this. Even the thought of having no contact with family is a horror to an African. Even though we are Africans and we’re residing in western countries, western ideas influence us and the influence becomes stronger as more African generations reside in non-African countries. So I wonder, will the coming generation keep marriage as something so sacred as our families do in Africa?
“A man without a wife is like a vase without flowers”—An African Proverb
That proverb reminds me of how in African countries, women are trained for marriage. As a woman, knowing how to cook and clean is very important. Also in the Diasporas African men expect African women to be able to cook. It’s that piece that African men want to keep in their homes. Especially when their mothers are great cooks.
All the above are question. Of which I would like to know how you feel and think. How important is marriage to you?
Watch the video below and let’s see how much you agree.