The Changing Face of Inter-Tribal / Inter-Ethnic Nigerian Marriages in the Diaspora

The first thing that usually signals an inter-tribal marriage is the name of the wife and/or children.  This is not always the case, however, especially where the first or last names are English names.  

I particularly find inter-tribal / inter-ethnic marriages fascinating, because as a people, Nigerians tend to stick to members of the same tribe when it comes to marriage.  So when I see a couple who have made that decision and jumped that hurdle, I want to know their story.  Because, there is a story there.

I say this not because same tribe marriages don't have stories of their own, but inter-tribal ones have a different or unique one.  

In my own experience (feel free to share yours too, especially if it's markedly different from mine), when Nigerians emigrate to other countries, particularly countries in the West, the issue of tribe and marriage becomes even more complicated.  

That is because in a foreign country, unless you live in a place where there is a sizeable Nigerian population, your dating pool (if you're single and searching, and stubbornly refuse to consider non-Nigerians) decreases significantly.  You cannot just walk down the street and find someone who speaks your language or is from your tribe.  In fact, meeting another Nigerian is an occasion that deserves special mention in your journal. Lol!

With a reduced dating pool, a wise person will re-strategize and adapt to this new environment.  So, when the issue of tribe comes to play, the standards are lowered.  Of course, there are parents (or even single people) who will still insist on only marrying someone from their tribe. The problem with that is that it is not very realistic.  

In an effort to stick with a person of your own tribe, you might end up overlooking important/key aspects of a potential mate's character and pick an unsuitable mate, whose only qualification is that he or she belongs to your tribe.

For those who are more open-minded and realistic, they understand that America, Europe, etc are not Nigeria, and make conscious efforts to adapt.  That also means being more open-minded tribe-wise.  Such people will leave the tribe issue open and focus on important character traits, which tend to be the most important points in making such a marriage-related decision.  I believe this is a continuum in the sense that such people are also likely to consider marrying another African or someone of another race.  I definitely support this.

In the diaspora, I think that Nigerians are more likely to contract inter-tribal/inter-ethnic and even inter-racial marriages than they would if they lived in Nigeria.  Do you agree or disagree? Why?

When one lives abroad, one has to adapt...I remember hanging with a Kenya guy when living in India and I was crucified by my fellow Nigerians...for me,I think I can date/marry non- nigerians, no ish with that,same religion is my own

'Lara A

This is a fun blog. I nominated you for a Liebster blog award :)

Jema Veni

The more inter-tribal marriages we have in Nigeria, the more united we'll be. In my church, House on the Rock, 98% of the pastoral heads married outside their tribe, right from the senior pastor. Life is changing.


Lara A: Exactly. One has to adapt in a new country. I'm glad to see you're open-minded. That's the way forward.

Jema Veni: Yay!!!! Off to check it out on your blog. Thank you so much!

Atilola: Abi o! The more, the better. Your church is quite progressive o. I think inter-tribal marriages should be encouraged, and leadership by example is a step in the right direction. Yup! Life is changing. For the better.



I am happy you tackled this topic, I still wonder why parents are still bent on marrying from your tribe in this generation. Ignoring the fact that the bible says that their is no difference between the us anymore, merely attending a private University like the one I'm in raise the chances of marrying from another tribe because of the confluence different tribes, you actually don't have to leave the country to be entangled in that fix. I strongly agree with you, we should face the more important issue like Character, not that inter-tribal marriages don't have their own challenges but they can be easily avoided or solved especially in this generations that we rarely know how to speak our local dialect.



I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...