I have recently graduated from the University. Now, if you’re African and a female then you know what is next on the pre-written-cannot-be-edited-or-tweaked-carved-in-stone list for you. Yes you guessed it, marriage.
Aunties and their friends, family friends, well wishers, practically everyone -like they’ve attended a meeting and decided on the next agenda for your life- teases, jokes and not so jokingly asks you for the man, a suitor, your boyfriend. Your mum calls you for talks, looking earnest and serious as she prods “so what is your plan?” “give me a name, let me start praying” “there is no guy you like or that has shown interest in you?”.
Now, if you are single and have no idea of getting into a relationship let alone getting married any time soon, you know this is a dilemma. Explaining yourself is likely to fall on deaf ears, explaining how you intend to pursue your career will only produce suspicious stares followed by lectures on how you’re not getting any younger.It is funny how my brother had graduated some years ahead of me, living with a girl he truly loves and no one is pressuring him about getting married.
While I haven’t decided yet if I am a feminist, or even dissected the difference between Western and African feminism or Black feminism as the case might be to see where I fit in, I definitely know I won’t go along life ticking a list that has been written on the bedrock of so called culture.
Being African by birth (both parents are African), I believe what I instinctically do should culminate what being an African woman entails, not me having to follow a set of rules passed down and policed by a society steeped in patriarchy. Thereby reinforcing its view on what an African woman is expected to be.
Times are changing and if we all lived by culture without so much as amending it, twins in Calabar will still be getting killed, 19 will be considered too old an age to be single, women won’t be voting or owning lands or wearing trousers or riding horses in straddle. Yeah, ridiculous right?