Wherever you go in Africa, more and more Black African women are choosing to date outside of their race. Reason’s may vary from “White men don’t cheat as much as black men”, “Black men find my success intimidating” or “A white man can offer me a better quality of life”.
Whatever the reason, we are seeing a lot more inter-racial children on the continent as more black women are stepping outside of their race to look for partners.
Does it have to do with tradition? Black African men believing they are superior to women and thus don’t need to put in much effort in relationships and marriages as women should worship the ground they walk on. Women who have successful careers in Africa, have been known to work hard at their jobs and still be expected to pick up all the house chores and child-rearing, even when they are contributing equally or sometimes more financially to the running of the home, with little or no help from their traditional African spouses.
Or could it have more to do with white privilege in Africa, and what kind of respect you get from the community at large when you are married to a white man? White men in Africa are extremely privileged, they have no problem getting jobs, contracts or even business loans from the bank, as everyone feels a white man is more trustworthy and is better equipped to execute ideas than his black counterparts. Two men – one black and one white can have the exact same business idea with no collateral, head to the bank and definitely, Mr Smith will be given a lot more help at the bank than Mr Musonda.
Local companies, run by black people, are less likely to be awarded big contracts. That is why most women entrepreneurs married to white men, would rather be known as Ruth Smith than her maiden name of Ruth Banda, knowing that just the foreignness of her name will ensure she gets a foot in the door and will at least get her a meeting. As Africans, we assume that a woman married to a white man will acquire his work ethic, mannerisms and wealth.
Poverty in Africa seems to be getting worse every year, and most black African men are dropping out of school or getting caught up in drugs and alcohol to deal with the daily pressures of life. So many homes are being headed by single mothers as black men choose not to raise their kids either because they don’t want to or because they are unable to.
Men are measured by their ability to provide for their families, especially in Africa. When a man can’t or won’t provide, he takes solace in drugs, alcohol and/or abuse of his spouse. On the other hand, men of different races in Africa seem to have it easier when it comes to being a provider. They are more likely to have access to capital for their businesses from banks, and/or friends and family members, more likely to get jobs or contracts.
African women are brought up to look for a man who will best provide for the family, but with more women becoming independent and being able to take care of themselves, it’s getting harder and harder for black women to find a suitable spouse.
Another reason I think, has been the women empowerment movement of the last few decades. So many more African women and girls have been empowered through education and business opportunities through foreign government grants and aid. But this has brought disparity as men have been left behind. Now more than ever, women are becoming qualified doctors, lawyers, engineers on fully-funded scholarships specifically for women, while men from disadvantaged backgrounds continue to drop out of school. No wonder there are so many political cadres and ‘Tenderpreneurs’ fighting hard to get into the government of the days good graces in exchange for a chance to feed their families.
It has been argued that this was the plan all along for neo-colonialism – to empower the black females and destabilize the black family. If the black family has no black male role models, an entire generation will be lost. Most African tribes believe that the man is the head of the household and has the responsibility to steer his family to prosperity and stability and pass on traditions from one generation to the next. If the black man is absent, not confident in his role and position, or the cultures continue to be mixed and diluted, what will be left of the African culture?
Speaking as a single mother of 3 young black men, I feel it’s important to do all we can to equally empower young black men, by making them understand that the world has changed and that women are equal partners in the home and that the fight is against poverty, ignorance and disease and not each other. We will never truly be free if we are not economically free, and it begins in the home, and with our families. There is nothing at all wrong with inter-racial marriage and indeed love can be found in any place, but my point remains that the black family has been under attack for centuries and it’s time for us to look at the cause and effect if we are ever going to get the chance to thrive as a continent and take our place as equals on earth.
Written by Abigail Mbuzi
Abigail Mbuzi is a Serial Entrepreneur based in Lusaka, Zambia. She is Founder and Managing Director of African Sunsets Marketing and Promotions Company, Creator and Executive Producer of the Mastercook Zambia TV Shows and teaches cooking classes for Adults and Children at the Mastercook Academy in Lusaka. She recently became a Celebrity Brand Manager for two of her sons – One a musician and guitarist and the other a 13-year-old Celebrity Chef. She is also the founder of the bi-annual Brand Woman/ Brand Man business and leadership conference that focuses on personal branding and empowerment.