A.F.R.I.C.A.N. WOMAN IN-DIASPORA! Part 2 of 2
(African Women living outside d continent of “AFRICA”)
…Understanding the African Man in Diaspora.
Response: from African Woman point of view…Understanding the African Man in Diaspora.
The angry women crowd…? I hope not. They want to change our family values to those of the West; the failed system of the West where women use the threat of divorce to beat weak Western men into submission or take them to divorce courts to cart away with their property. No wonder some Western men have seen the light and refusing to get married to these nasty women or prefer to go abroad and get a more stable woman from Asia, South America or Africa.
I have no problems whatsoever with challenging the status quo, but I expect it to be done with some common sense. Our culture and heritage, though fraught with many faults, is still ahead of the curve of whatever you can describe as Western culture.
In our culture, a woman has clearly defined roles as wife, as mother and as in-law. The man also has his roles as husband, father and in-law. The confusion of these roles is at the root of the failure of the oldest institution in many Western nations.
According to our culture, the man is the head of the household. Even Western religions like Christianity and Judaism, though newer than our culture (African culture is as old as man - after all humans emerged first from Africa - Eden? In Africa!), have upheld that view. When it comes to marriage, the woman can exercise her power of choice! To choose a worthy leader of her future household!
Response: from African man point of view…Understanding the African Man in Diaspora.
Courtesy: William Femi Awodele
Executive Director of Christian Couples Fellowship International, Inc. a marriage ministry based out of Omaha, Nebraska.
In five years of ministry and counseling, I have been accused of favoring men and I've also been accused of favoring women, I tend to call it the way I believe it is based on biblical principles. Men generally or worst still African men would always get more knock than the woman for many reasons. First, as the head of the home the buck should stop with the leader, secondly, the leader also bears responsibility for the things done under his watch, and thirdly the African man particularly gets more hit because of his tendencies based on his experiences while growing up in Africa.
The average African man in Diaspora is actually a good person, he loves his children, works hard to bring in money, he loves education, he is proud, he loves his wife but shows it differently, I know this because I have seen these average African Man all over North America, in Europe, in Africa and in Australia.
For this article I'll like to categorize the African Man in Diaspora into four types:
1)The highly educated older generation (immigrants) - many of them came to America in the 1960s/1970s/1980s they returned home (Africa) to high positions but they started coming back to America and Europe when corruption and bad leadership brought many African countries economies to its knees. Many never left because their dream of education was not realized, so they are not as educated or as highly placed as their counterparts that went back home and came back.
2) The Children (first generation) - many of the children of the immigrants Africans returned with their parents in the 1980s/1990s and are now parents themselves. The boys married the girl-friends and the girls married the boy-friends they met while going to college in Africa (this is my category). They are educated as well, along with their spouses and today many of them occupy highly placed positions in corporate America and in every industry.
3) The 1990s saw the American, European and other industrialized countries, allowing skilled workers to come and work in their countries. America called its own visa lottery, Australia and Canada call theirs "skilled workers program" and I know that Ireland had a similar program for a while. So many are of these men have at least a first degree.
4) There are those who came in illegally, usually with a visitor's visa and never went back and are operating under the radar doing menial jobs below whatever status they had before leaving Africa.
What connects and distinguishes all these categories of African men in terms of their view of marriage are their level of education and age (directly related to how much of the African culture was ingrained in them) when they left Africa. Let's see what was ingrained in a typical African Man.
The African Man's view of Marriage
The woman is not equal to the man - the man leads without consultations with his wife, her opinions are not needed.
The in-equality of how African men view their wives lead to the woman being beaten. In America it is called physically abuse, in Africa she is being put in her place so she can know who runs the house. It is not uncommon for some men to have special "belt" to "discipline" their wives and children.
Due to Dowry or Bride Price - the African woman is seen as a property, the severity of this depends on the tribe in Africa. This is often displayed at the death of the man, my people (Yoruba’s) would usually give a woman to the brother of the dead (I had an uncle who accepted his brother's wife, only to die himself within a year), and the Ibos (my other people by marriage) in Eastern Nigeria would usually take all the property of the dead man and live the woman with little or nothing of the properties the couple acquire together (I know the case of an Mbaise couple just two years ago).
Polygamy or adultery in whatever shape is accepted - While my grandpa had 10 wives and they all knew each other, the men of my dad’s generation, kept (or still keep) the other woman at another location. Many times the other family show up at the man's funeral or the larger family call a meeting to introduce the "baby" wife and her children to the one at home (Iyale). It is not uncommon for African women to accept their husbands open adultery as long as he is taking care of them (taking care of is a relative term).
Public show of affection or display of emotion is absolutely frowned at - The man cannot show affection to his wife, he risk being called a "woman wrapper" or the superstitious ones would say the wife has washed her "private part" in the man's stew (soup) to arrest his love. Many men want to show affection, but they stay away in order not to be called names. Some brave men actually show affection, but the wife that gets most of the husbands affection always get the brunt of being the favorite from the other wives in a polygamous home.
Money is used as a dominant factor or tool of control in a typical African home - the man would usually make more money and the wife(s) and children are at the mercy of the man for food money and school fees.
Most men in Africa see their job as bringing home the bacon and nothing more and it is the wives job to cook food and raise the children, whatever that entails. In twenty-six years of living in Nigeria, I did not know one family that had a joint account and for those that I have encountered at conferences whose parent had joint account, it is usually their mom giving her pay-check to the dad without asking any questions and him doing whatever he wants with the money, no budgeting or mutual planning.
An African man would have problem with the woman making more money than him because he believes a part of his manhood has been taking away. A Sudanese man (refugee) in my city resigned his job because his wife made more net income than him when they got their first pay-check in America (they worked in the same factory).
The extended family is more important than the wife to an African man - an African man would listen and do what the Dad or Mom wants before listening to his wife's opinion. In His head when making decisions, the extended family comes before his nuclear family; his wife would always take care of the children.
An African man that has spent at least 20 formative years in Africa would have most of the above traits ingrained in him because that is what he saw and in most cases taught growing up (Se bi Okunrin - behave like a man), if that man is educated he probably won't boast about it but would still show it in his behavior, indicating that exposure to education is not the solution to this line of thinking.
When the African man and his wife relocate to a western country, he then faces a new set of culture that in many ways contradicts what he grew up with and his attitude to his new challenges determines his relationship with his wife, children and success in his new environment.
Challenges to the African Man's view of Marriage in a Western country
All over the western world, women are called equal to men, the women's liberation organization in many western countries are even advocating women not marry because they don't need men. There are many programs geared toward the women, even visas for battered women brought into a western country and abused by their husband and held ransom because of documentations.
Many African men (I have met a few) who have problems with the concept that men and women are equal or that they are leader among equal. The older generation (immigrants), the skilled workers and visa lottery winners would probably never see their wives as equal, while the kids are a little better when it comes to understanding the equality or men and women.
The African man's wife wants her husband to show public affection like their white neighbor, if he can't kiss me in public at least he can hold my hand. Some of the women even want flower? As far as the African man is concerned such women are now referred to as "Iyawo Ilu Oyinbo (American or European wife)".
Many African men, resist holding our wives in public because we think it is a white man's culture and we point to the excesses we see in public parks.
When purchases are made in western countries, for the most part it needs to be done in the name of the couple because of the credit system (nonexistent in Africa), family income and credit history is critical to secure a loan. Because things have to be done together, a typical African man hates the fact that he now has to consult with his wife to make purchases something he never did in Africa.
I know many African men who still boast that their wives would never know how much they earn. Some are even of the opinion that they don't need the wife's money, yet they groan under the weight of bills monthly.
Knowing that polygamy is illegal, many African men are engaged in adulterous relationship all over the place, this is common among the older generation. The young desperate for husband, college and working class girls are the culprit or victims as the case might be. This unholy act is more common among those active in the "owambe" party scene, but it does exist also in the church.
While physical abuse is illegal, the law is not enforced in many African countries, however many state laws in America clearly states that someone would go to jail if the police are called for domestic violence. I have also found that the African man definition of physical abuse is different from what obtains in western countries. Africans regularly slap their wives or yell at them, meanwhile if you as much as touch your light skinned wife and live a red scar on her, you'll go to jail without collecting 200, I hear many African men say to me "I was only trying to get my cell phone from her"
When many African men lose their dominance because the wife makes more money, they resort to silly things to try and be the leader. Which include abuse (emotionally and physically). I know a husband who would not go to the kitchen to make food for himself and the children, he'll rather wait till the wife gets back at 6.00pm to eat and then he'll want sex later? On further inquiry, his action was purely based on messed up strategy to maintain dominance.
The prevalent African culture as it relates to marriage need to be reviewed not because we are in millilieum or times have changed but because the value system of God has never changed in thousands of year. In the same way America and especially England need to return to Judeo-Christian values that sustained them for many years…
BE d JUDGE…
We need to take our marriage seriously (and imbibe the culture of maintenance) and recognize that we have a problem that need to be addressed, rather than keep fire on the roof and go to sleep pretending there is no problem.
Conclusion: Q & A
(Make it brief and precise)
In a nutshell:
We need as a group of people to discuss this topic not just in Church and Mosque or Facebook forum but in academic or social forum (especially the cultural associations.)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
To Almighty GOD be d glory!