Black man relocates from Nigeria to the UK, USA, Canada to study.
During his studies, he gets a part-time job. He does well at it. He fancies one of his colleagues – problem is she’s white. So??? He lets that one go.
He also does well in school. His social life is full; some might say it’s too full. He thinks if he hangs around black women, that will help him feel ‘more connected to his roots’.
Till he discovers that he cannot get the image of long, blonde (that is not from a bottle) hair on that Caucasian classmate of his, out of his mind. He finally asks her out; she agrees.
He is the happiest he has ever been. Their relationship survives the jeering of insanely envious frenemies who are upset that they haven’t found the same level of happiness; the racist jokes aimed at interracial couples; the insinuations of elderly relatives, who really do not know better.
Over the years, they have their disagreements – these exist in every healthy relationship, thank you very much – but they both know This is my person. You might act like an idiot sometimes, but you are my idiot. Home is you and you are home.
After one holiday, dude decides to propose. His brother, who is miserable in his marriage says, “Ah!!! Abomination! You want to marry an onye ocha? She will ride on you!”
His sister wails, “You will die of hunger; that oyibo will only feed you with hamburger and chips; no akpu and nta n’imoroko.”
His aunt, who is being buffeted by her husband and has been abandoned by her adult kids, because she is now a bitter shrew, opines, “You know, oyibo people have no culture. They cannot stay with a man. They always want to divorce. Ooooh, if my brother, your late father … if my brother were alive, you would not do this.”
His mother delivers with, “She will steal you from me. I told your father not to send you, abroad. Is this how you want to pay me back for all I suffered for you?”
Dude starts feeling guiltier than … sin.
So, when someone just “happens to know of this young virgin from our hometown, who is ripe for marriage and from a good home”; a full grown-behind man loses his liver, balls and common sense.
She is from our homestead, so she is not a foreigner – they say.
You will learn to love her; after all, she doesn’t know you, too. Besides, your parents met for the first time, two days to their wedding – they claim.
He travels back to his overseas base, after the traditional wedding ceremony. He doesn’t even bother to show up for the church do. He drags his feet, processing papers for his new African bride. But he cannot stall forever.
Six months to two years later, she arrives. She is full of expectations.
But hubby is not as pleased to see her, as he should be. He doesn’t want to touch her – even if the weather is what Nigerians call ‘weather for two’.
He admits to himself that he has made a mistake – a wedding ring, some meaningless words and an exorbitant ceremony don’t change certain things: he wants his oyibo. Not because of papers or prestige. Just because he can be himself with her. She makes him laugh. She gets him. She is a real companion, in every sense of the word.
But as the family have spoken, he tells himself that he is stuck.
Meanwhile, not-so-new African bride is getting worked up. He has only touched her, once in three months. He says he is busy at work. But he is not too busy, to call one oyibo chic. And all the umunna, umuada and arusi of her village forbid that she will lose her man. To an onye ocha, for that matter. So, she will make life miserable for him; that is how her mother taught her. Only … he starts spending nights away from home. And when he returns, it’s for a change of clothing – and the waft of that Jackie/Jessie/whatever-her-name’s perfume is all over him. She tells him she is pregnant; so, he stops seeing what’s-her-name for a while. He is miserable, but African wifey doesn’t care; who gives a hoot about happiness in a marriage? What does happiness even mean? She has him, where she wants him. She was told that ‘men are so stupid, they do not know what they want and you need to impose stuff on them to make them stay’. Her mother, her pastor and all the others she consulted, when her marriage was in trouble, all confirmed this.
One day, three years and two children later, he says, “I don’t love you, any more. I never did.” And African wife says, “I will not go, quietly. If you think you can leave me for that white b*tch, I will show you that I can be the devil you never knew.”
This is something that plays out, across the globe, everyday.
I knew this bloke at university – a black guy – who had serious issues, accepting himself. He couldn’t bring himself to admit that he wasn’t into black chics; he thought it would make him ‘less black’, like he had betrayed his heritage or something. So, he went around like a lost soul, looking for black chics to date, to try and ‘validate his blackness’. He’s married to/co-habiting with a Caucasian chic, with whom he has a child, now.
At the end of the day, who/what you like is who/what you like. The heart wants what the heart wants. There are certain things you cannot change or stifle for long. If you’re drawn to/find love with someone who is of a different tribe, nationality, race, whatever – it is what it is.
You will not lose your identity roots, respect or whatever else people threaten you with, because you’re not married to someone who speaks the same dialect.
The fact that someone’s mother cooks the same local delicacy as your mum, will not infuse happiness or longevity into your marriage.
Copyright ©Chioma Nnani