The thing about BH is that his tribe wasn’t straightforward, and I did not know what tribe to tell my mum he was.
I am Yoruba, and I have never been with a non-Yoruba person. I have never thought of being with a non-Yoruba person, or even conceptualised the idea. Ever since we were young, even before the age of 15, we knew we were supposed to marry Yorubas only. So there was no way my mum would start telling me at my age who to marry, cos we already knew.
Because of this, I wasn’t sure how my mum would react. If I were 24, I’m sure she would have spun her head around, and never agreed with the idea, but at this moment, I just didn’t know… not because I was older, but of past heartbreaks.
More importantly, I had told God, myself, and my friends that if truly God was involved in the relationship between BH and I, the most damning evidence would be total acceptance of us by every stakeholder, especially mum. Our least worry would be parental approval.
BH is a mix of delta and igbo. His roots are in delta, his father’s roots are in delta, but he’s of igbo lineage... just the Obama being from Kenya situation. Whenever anyone asks me, I just say he’s from delta, cos even though he has an igbo name and of that lineage, he’s never been raised as one.
So one day, I was lying on my bed, and I just felt a nudge to go and inform my mum even though it wasn’t yet the time I set for myself. I went upstairs to my sister’s room, and asked her to follow me to my mum’s room. The reason was that just in case my mum starts to object, my sister can join mouth in convincing her.
I said “Mum, I’m getting married o.”
It started with shock on her face, and I said “I met someone and we are getting married this year.”
Then it followed with excitement. And I was like
Oh, oh, I’m about to break this woman’s heart.
Believe it or not, my mum was about to get on the floor, and kneel or roll.
My sister and I were like “No no mummy. Don’t be happy yet. Don’t get excited. There’s something we need to tell you. There’s something you need to know.”
Then she looked at us, and said “What is wrong?”
I said “Guess.”
She said “What is wrong? He’s not Yoruba?”
I said “Yes… but you will love him when you meet him.”
“Where’s he from?” I replied “Delta.”
And then the miracle happened.
She said “Who am I to stop you if that’s what you want?”
This is my same mum who even gave us the configuration of Yoruba you could bring home, cos not all of them were acceptable for marriage.
“Where in Delta?” I told her.
I kept saying “Mummy, don’t worry, you will love him. He’s such a great guy. Once you see him, you will fall in love with him.” And that was the song I was singing into her ears all through cos to me, I felt it was important to elevate the person over the tribe, after all, people from all tribes have good character and bad character.
The next day she called me, and asked if I was sure I was doing the right thing, and not going with this guy because I was desperate. I told her that if it were desperation, I would have been with someone else cos he’s not the only person dancing around me. That was the last time the issue of tribe came up.
A week later, I told my brother. He kept saying I’m not serious. I tried to play the same you-will-love-him-when-you-meet-him card, but it did not work.
He just kept saying “you are not serious”. I kept smiling and saying “I’m serious.”
He wasn’t happy about it at all… the tribal difference, short courtship and all. According to my brother, he was Igbo, no matter the explanation. When I told him that he’s a great guy, he said all guys are great to the women in their lives. No matter the defence, he wasn’t buying it. But he ended with the fact that I can do what I want since I’ve made up my mind, and not exactly seeking his approval.
BH and my brother are cool now, so I’m believing his first reaction was due to the shock that came with that kind of unexpected information.
After this, we set dates to physically meet all the powers that be.
First my pastor… who basically gave his approval cos BH is cool like that, lol.
Then his pastor… who believe I’m very good for BH, and we are good together
Then his mum: We travelled all the way to Asaba for this. She wasn’t happy about the fact that I was smallish (she’s not so tall herself). She’s so funny, and was really good to me. She made banga soup for me.
And lastly, my mum… whom BH was so eager to meet that he crashed my house just when we got back from Asaba, just to see her, before returning during the weekend for the official meeting.
Right now, everyone is family, and all hurdles have been scaled. The same friends who were sceptical cos they felt he rushed me, and rushed me to his mum are all very cool with us now. Cos even though we made the decision to get married very early, we intentionally pushed the date far. So it is not exactly a short courtship.
Now that we have all the required systemic support, we can now move into less important and juicier details of things like proposal.
Question: What do your parents think about intertribal marriage? Close or opened to it?