“Bia Ekene,”Ekene’s mother called her son to a corner, “so you did not see any good Igbo girl to marry eh.” “Ekene, so you have decided that your mother will not die in peace.” Ekene was left downcast by his mother’s cheap emotional blackmail, and tried to walk away from her just as his father approached.
“Ekene nna m, our people marry amongst themselves, look at your mother and I. We understand each other so well because we speak the same language and know our customs so well.” “Daddy!!!” Ekene cut him short, not wanting to hear anymore. “I am sorry but I don’t share your views. You and mummy hardly know Jasmine. Yes she is not Igbo, but I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to share my life with. My heart only beats for her. She is beautiful inside out. She is kind and very humble.
She understands me in ways that no one else does. How do I explain this to you? She completes me. Language or culture do not define what feelings are. Yes, culture does give us an understanding of who we are, and how we came to be as a people, but it does not hinder true feelings or reveal someone’s true nature. Mother, father, please understand me. This is not a problem for us, in fact in no time she will learn our ways just as I am also trying to learn the tradition of her people so that our happiness is not hindered by our tribes or beliefs. We will respect each other’s cultures.
If only you see what I see in my Jasmine you wouldn’t question my choice. Love knows no tribe or custom, rather it speaks the language of joy, happiness, respect, humility and patience.”
“I have this question for you my parents,” Ekene pressed on. “Tell me, if I were to marry someone by your standards, and end up not being happy and probably die as a result of my unhappiness, would you be happy?” “Ha Ekene nwa m, don’t say that again. You are my only son, how can you even think of that? No ooh tufiakwa,” cried Ekene’s mum. “Come my son. Does this your Jazzy make you happy?” “Yes Father,”Ekene replies. “Okay dear, if that is the case, go and call my daughter-in-law and let’s go home. Your mother has made some good Egusi soup to welcome you home.”
As Ekene walked towards Jasmine, he was shocked at the sight of his mother holding Jasmine’s hands and speaking softly to her with a mother’s love and tenderness. With a smile, he hugged his mother and took Jazzy’s hand: “Let’s go home, my love.”
I must say Ekene is one lucky guy. How many relationships have ended because of parents undermining the strong love that exists between their children who are in inter-tribal relationships? The tribe card gets played, and what should have been a happy marriage never happens.
Please let’s not mix issues here, it is important that parents give their blessings to their children, but time and time again the society has been denied of peaceful, happy unions because of tribal sentiments. And these sentiments extend to the national sphere. There is a great divide along our political, religious and economic existence as a people which threatens our unity as a nation. How so sad that our ethnic differences have always played a very negative role in all spheres of our existence. We seem to call each other derogatory names, and even threaten the extinction of one another by harsh rhythms of war.
For those parents who have risen above tribal sentiments, and damned popular beliefs so their children will find joy, I salute you! Their attitude and conviction will not only protect our unity, but will build bridges that religion or ethnicity will not erode.
This has been a very emotional piece for me. I hope to read your feedbacks on this article.
As always till I write again, I love you for reading.