When Parents Say: "You Can't Bring A [Insert Tribe] Into Our House".
Making a decision on who you want to marry should be easy. Choosing who you want to fall in love with and end up marrying should be based on your personal decision and choice. If you want to marry someone from the North, South, East or West or from any tribe that should be something you as a person should be free to do. Right? But why is it that in Ghana and perhaps other African countries; parents do not give their children the freedom of choosing who to settle down with when it comes to the tribe of their partner?
The only time my Mother said anything concerning my choice of a partner was when she forbade me to bring a Nigerian to the family. She wasn’t also interested in seeing a dread-loced man in the house either. But pertaining to tribe, she wasn’t very specific. I guess I was free to marry from any part of Ghana.
I was listening to CitiFm last week when the topic of tribalism was sub-discussed on how it affected the choice of a marital partner. Two people are in love but their parents refuse to accept one of them because they come from one part of the country. An example of such a scenario:
Adjorkor meets Aryeetey during a girls hangout. They exchanged numbers and after a few dates they fall in love. After 2 years of dating, Aryeetey decides to propose. Adjorkor excitedly says yes and tweets it on her timeline. Her Facebook timeline is also filled with congratulations on the fresh bubbly news! People are asking when the wedding is going to be. She’s in 6th heaven. She then tells her parents who know of Aryeetey’s visits to the house. Her parents then decide to probe more into this news. “Where is he from?”
Adjorkor shyly swings her body and folds her hands in front of her, ‘Daddy, he’s from Volta Region?”
Silence. Her mother looks away into the distance and silently murmurs inaudibly “hmmmmmm”.
A worried shadowy look crosses Adjorkor’s face. “Anything the matter?”
“You cant marry from that region! And that’s final! You should find another Ga man or another tribe.”
What is Adjorkor going to do now? Aryeetey was the only man she had ever loved and was the only man who had treated her like a queen all these years. Should she wait and hopefully pray and fast that her parents would change their minds one day?
Although this is a fictional story it nevertheless portrays the realism some couples are facing or have faced before. Relationships have broken up because of marital tribalism. Parents forbid their children to marry from a particular tribe because of their personal experiences with members of that social group. They prefer their children to marry from the tribe they were born into.
Shockingly, you would be surprised that parents who often utter such statements are the learned. They have degrees upon professional degrees but when it comes to this area of discussion they stick to their old rusty guns of not marrying from another or a particular tribe. Pure tomfoolery.
What is their reason for this? Interestingly, some parents have reasons like; “we don’t want to travel far to see our in-laws”, “those people are troublesome”, etc. Excuses I say. Will they be able to admit to being discriminatory against another tribe?
I remember making a promise to myself some years back, that I will never marry a Ga man. Why? Well, after dating two Ga men in my early 20’s I knew I wasn’t cut out to marry from my tribe. We were always fighting verbally. You know what they say about Ga people too when it comes to arguments. LOL!! Or perhaps it was just a personality discord. Also I had seen my parents marriage fail and that also influenced my decision. Whenever we went visiting relatives, it further cemented my decision. Shouting matches bi what?! Kai!
After listening to the show, I cast my mind back to girl talks I had had in the past with my female friends. We would whisper in secret how men from the various regions were like. This was a funny one but there was that whispered rumor that men from the North had controlling attitudes and owned GIGANTIC penises. ROTFL!!! 😂😂😂 Some also said Fante men were lazy so they weren’t interested. But it wasn’t the women only though. I had male friends who would swear that women from Volta were the sweetest! And by that they mean…good in bed. But you knew that already. 😋
I ended up with a Togolese Ewe man eventually. My husband swears it’s the best combination ever. Ewe & Ga. Na so? My parents didn’t even blink when I told them. I guess they were in hurry to see me married off so they couldn’t be bothered anymore on where he was coming from. Life. Funny as hell. 😂😂
Instead of parents being concerned about whether their potential in-law is an armed robber or a crook they are rather being judgmental on tribe. Instead of being focused on the character, vision and personality of their potential in-law, they are more concerned if he's from the Eastern or Western Region. Some families insist on endogamy (marrying from one's tribe). But here's whats interesting, these same families will say yes if you decide to marry a Westerner or an Obroni and perhaps another African country. So what's wrong with our own people?? 🤔
I remember when we informed both our parents of our decision to marry and my husband’s grandmother took on herself to find out which home I came from. I mean she literally sent scouts to my Grandfather’s family home to enquire if they knew my Mom and I. It’s old school you might say. But that for me is more essential than which tribe the man or woman is coming from. Such enquiries enables family’s to investigate whether you come from a home where there’s generational insanity or sicknesses. Thankfully, she found nothing but rather got to discover that she knew my Grandfather personally. Small world. 👫
Is there a solution for anyone facing difficult parents who refuse to accept their partner's tribal background? What should they do in the face of such predicament?
Be strong and stand by your choice.
Sadly, many of us were brought up in a way which has made us timid as adults. The Ghanaian parent will shout at you, whip you and not encourage you to pursue your interests instead will push their agenda on to you to fulfil for their gain. Daddy wants you to become a doctor because his friends are also Doctors. Daddy wants you to go his alma mater because it's a tradition. He married from his tribe so that should be your destiny. If you say no to his suggestions it's an abomination which can lead to dire consequences. But you are an adult now and what's the worse that could happen? Stand by your partners choice if the only protest they have is that of tribal.
Stay united as a couple
There's strength in unity and agreement. If the couple stand together and agree on their decision, it will be harder for the parents to keep saying no. A lady called in to the same program and said that although her parents were being difficult, her partner is standing by her and has assured her of his stance. He isn't going anywhere.
Can the couple get another family member who is more open-minded to speak with their parents?
Ghanaian parents who are preventing their children from getting married because of tribal differences should seize and desist. It's not only backward but causes unnecessary pain and bitterness.
Have faced a similar experience where your parents forbade you from marrying from another tribe or region of the country? What did you do? Have a story to share with regards to this issue? Please share in the comments below.