If you can communicate with someone in a language that you both feel comfortable with, it makes being with that person easier.

In Africa, those who speak the same language have a similar culture.

To the woman’s relief, her interlocutor, let’s call her Auntie Ama, responded “No.” “Good, because we do not want her kind here,” the woman said.

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Am I saying that those who date outside of their culture are not in tune with their own?

Certainly not, but they certainly have embraced other cultures more and are willing to look past any real, imagined or expected obstacles.

“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.

Wawira Njeru however seeks to follow this path in her photography.

Ahead of a gathering of (grey) heads of state later this month at the first African Union Summit for 2017, Levi Kabwato remembers Mohamed Bouazizi, reflects on the impact of the Arab Spring and considers the shortcomings of the AU and its supposedly youth-focused theme for 2017.

Outside our homes, we spoke the same street language, ate the same type of food, listened to the same type of music and were attracted to the same type of guys (or girls).

There were no cultural preferences, except they had to speak English and couldn’t be a “freshie” (someone who’s recently moved to the UK from Africa). However, as I got older and continued to date people from other countries, I realised there was always a barrier in the way, almost like a culture clash, and language, I felt, was the ultimate clash as it is one of the key markers of culture.

As one uncle put it to me [I’m Congolese], “If you married a Nigerian, how would you cope if he wanted to retire in Nigeria? Could we really say that relationships would be easier if we were with someone of the same origin?

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?

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”.