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Unattached African Women Abroad in Serious Crisis (Part 2)

Thu, 9 Jun 2011 Source: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong

By Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (Black Power)

In the previous article (i.e. part 1 of this piece published on Ghanaweb.com on the 6th June 2011) which provided a summary of the outcome of a research conducted on young unattached African women in England between March and May 2011, it was revealed that the number of single African women in the western world particularly England has significantly increased over the last couple of years; and that more and more African ladies abroad are desperately hunting for husbands or serious partners. To understand and appreciate this piece (the second and concluding part of the previous article) which basically offers practical suggestions, recommendations or advice to young single African women abroad, it is considered expedient to very briefly summarize the first part.

The article disclosed based on 150 young African women (aged 21-40) surveyed that, 61% of young African female immigrants in England and possibly other western countries are single; 21% are in serious relationships, and only 18% are married. It categorized young unattached African women (young women who are not married or do not have “serious” partners) into four main age groups and provided the percentage of each group in England: the Prime Years group (21-25, 22%), Vital Years group (26-30, 27%), Borderline group (31-35, 32%), and the Danger Zone group (36-40, 19%).

It unveiled several factors responsible for the increasing numbers of young unattached (single) African women abroad, namely: Perceived shortage of decent African men in the West, and the desire of many African men to marry women of other races usually for legal status; lack of trust for western based African women who are generally perceived to be arrogant, argumentative, disrespectful, non-submissive and dishonest or unfaithful; unnecessary church rules/codes such as those that do not allow church members, especially women to marry outside their religious denominations and to date men before marriage; tribalism/ethnocentrism where some African families “blacklist” certain tribes and/or countries, and would just not allow their children to get married to someone from these “blacklisted” societies; women spending prime years pursuing educational and career goals and age catching up with them (hence, ending up in a position where attracting men becomes a bit more difficult); misconception about highly educated African women viewed by many men as domineering, less respectful, and difficult to get along with; the craving on the part of many women to marry wealthy men and/or men with legal status; unwillingness on the part of some men to be burdened with financial responsibilities associated with marriage; women making poor choices (e.g. ignoring or paying less attention to the right and serious men, and hanging out with men with no substance); and other past mistake such as, waywardness, going out with married men, being impregnated by reckless men who refuse to accept responsibility, and single-motherhood. It was however established that not all single African women abroad are interested in marriage or serious relationships as some prefer and seem to be very happy to be single.

It observed that the single women who are now seriously hunting for partners or husbands are mainly those who fall within the Vital Years and the Borderline groups, as well as those with children (irrespective of age). The following were some of the reasons identified for the alarming rate at which unattached African women abroad are desperately looking for partners: old age catching up with them and their determination to avoid carrying their singleness into the Danger Zone or being less fertile and having difficulty in bringing forth children; pressure from family (both nuclear and extended) who generally view the institution of marriage as something that brings respect and honour not only to the couple but also their families; the need for security and stable support (financially, materially, mentally or emotionally), loneliness and/or the sense of non-fulfilment without marriage; and the determination to fulfil New Year Resolutions which usually include getting husbands.

The study also established that single African women who fall within the Borderline and Danger Zone groups, and those with children are more likely to be taken advantage of and sexually exploited by selfish and lustful men as they easily give in to false marriage promises or propositions of deceptive, selfish and promiscuous men, because of their situation. It concluded forecasting that ‘very soon more and more unattached African women in the West particularly those in England will be making their way to their various home countries to look for partners and husbands. However, the question is not whether or not the men in Africa are ready for the western based ladies; it is rather whether or not the single ladies back home in Africa will watch the western based ladies “scramble” for “their men” without a fight.’

Recommendations or Advice for Young Unattached African Women

Pursuing love relationship with the same focus as educational and career goals: Women who feel marriage and having children are important to them should pursue and develop healthy and meaningful love relationships with the same focus and attention they pursue their educational and career goals while they are in their prime as looks or beauty and fertility commonly decrease with age. This is surely not to encourage hasty or premature marriage, to discourage female education, or to suggest that older women cannot get suitable partners. As a matter of fact, patience has always been one of the key factors or virtues necessary for a successful marriage. After all they that sing last sing best, as the saying goes; the only worry is if those who decide to sing last unluckily do not get the chance to sing at all before the “singing contest programme” runs out of time and consequently ends.

Drawing a line between religious affiliation, ethnic belonging, or political allegiance and “Marital Love”: It is indeed helpful and beautiful when a couple attends the same church or shares the same faith; and may also probably be a bit more convenient to be married to a man belonging to one’s own tribe, political party, etc. However, one should always strike some distinction between religious affiliation, ethnic belonging, or political allegiance, and what is preferred to be called MARITAL LOVE (love existing between husband and wife or prospective partners) which transcends tribal/ethnic, religious, and political party boarders. It is in fact possible to kill two or even three birds with one stone, but unfortunately, the probability of accomplishing a mission of this magnitude may be superlatively low. For this reason, a women who really feels the urgent need to start a decent family should first search for L, O, V, E – Love and a man with good character, and if the lover happens to be a member of her religious denomination, tribe, political party, etc., let her shout SUPER BINGO!!!, if not THANK YOU GOD!!! It is about time young single women also realized that forcing men to become members of their religious denominations before their marriage proposals are welcomed, is a breach of one fundamental human right – freedom of religion.

There is no such entity as a perfect man: Some people may disagree with or take offence in this statement; but it has to be made: There is no such thing or entity as a PERFECT or even CLOSE-TO-PERFECT MAN just as there isn’t any such thing as a PERFECT or CLOSE-TO-PERFECT WOMAN. Because humans, even twins, have divergent characters or traits and ways of behaving, there are and will always be squabbles in relationships. Some of the rows result when some of the partners’ conflicting traits collide; others are attributable to silly mistakes made by one of the parties. What every woman should understand is that the “perfect man” is the man whose unfamiliar traits she is able to identify and familiarize herself with, and whose weaknesses she helps him overcome. It is never advisable to make unnecessary comparisons between an ex and current partner especially in the latter’s presence: E.g. my ex-boyfriend took me out every Friday evening; you are not doing that; therefore, …. Women should try as much as possible to appreciate and treat those people in their lives as best they can regardless of what others may or may not have done to/for them.

Choosing between love or marriage and wealth or legal status: One finds it quite difficult to comprehend why a woman would knowingly ignore a man who is genuinely in love with her but is not very financially sound or does not have strong legal status for a so-called wealthy dude and/or a man with legal documents who is less committed. The rule is very simple; either you go for love, for wealth, or for legal status; if you get all three, that’s your luck. It is better however to stick to a committed and purposeful DABI DABI EBEYEYE man than a less committed and aimless ABEN WO HA guy (no disrespect to Lumba who is in fact my No 1 African musician followed by Amakye Dede). Again, the traditional African notion that it is the responsibility of only the man to handle all marriage and household expenses, even when it is clear that the woman’s job or income is much better than the man, should be completely discarded.

Humility: Note, that there is a diametric difference between humility and servitude. Being humble thus means showing respect and a considerable level of reasonable obedience to a partner, and not allowing oneself to be turned into a slave or sex machine. Women should know that being argumentative/outspoken, arrogant, or disrespectful does not get them the love they desire from men. Again, it is very essential for every young woman to humble herself irrespective of her academic accolades, her extraordinary beauty, rich family background, etc. For instance, if male PhD graduates can marry SHS graduates, then what prevents educated women from relaxing the search criteria and going for men whose academic qualifications are below theirs?

Being cautious in one’s effort to amend past mistakes: Certain earlier or past mistakes and the desperation or hast to get things right, can easily compel a woman to make ill-informed decisions and make even more terrible and suicidal errors. That which can serve as a stumbling block to achieving one’s dreams is death and not age; hence women should be positive minded and maintain the spirit of self-esteem or self-confidence no matter how old they think they are growing. Know that there will always be deceptive, selfish and lustful men out there whose sole objective is to sexually exploit single women desperately looking for husbands by offering false marriage promises or propositions. Beware! Again women should avoid the temptation to act too seriously after just a couple of dates, as that can scare some men off. Give a man some breathing space even if you love him to bits.

The message for/to any young lady who is happy with “singleness” and prefers to remain single is: Thumbs up! You are and will never be alone; but make sure your doings are in consonance with religious and moral principles. After all marriage is certainly not the most important thing in life.

It should be concluded that in the drama of LOVE, none of the characters, Professor Education, Pastor Religion, Dr Tribe, Honourable Political Party, Mr Age, Officer Legal Status, or Sir Wealth is a protagonist, and none has priority over the others. It is Mrs Love herself who plays the leading role – the heroine.

For the sake of fairness or even-handedness, future research projects by research-loving people may focus on unattached African men in the UK or any western country.

NB: No part of this piece may be reproduced without fully crediting the source: the author.

GOD BLESS AFRICA

Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (aka Black Power) is a lecturer and an investigative journalist in London, UK. He is the author of ‘Fourth Phase of Enslavement: unveiling the plight of African immigrants in the West’

Columnist: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong