Marriage and dating customs in africa
Being a fluent English speaker who also communicated with her parents in her mother tongue, I tended to slip between languages without thinking about it.When I spoke to another Congolese person they understood me, but when I spoke to someone who didn’t speak my mother tongue, conversations couldn’t be as natural as I wanted them to be.
However, even in Congo a country that boasts a long history of tribalism, there came a time during the Mobutu regime when he encouraged tribes and regions to unite because he understood that a united Congo meant a stronger state.
There were no cultural preferences, except they had to speak English and couldn’t be a “freshie” (someone who’s recently moved to the UK from Africa). However, as I got older and continued to date people from other countries, I realised there was always a barrier in the way, almost like a culture clash, and language, I felt, was the ultimate clash as it is one of the key markers of culture.
It didn’t help when I went to their houses and the family would purposely speak in their language to exclude me, which reminded me that I wasn’t one of them.
Nowadays, children usually decide who they want to marry. Watch the video to see what these are and find out what families traditionally receive as a marriage gift.
As a young girl in Malawi, especially if you live in a rural area, you may be forced into marriage, sometimes with a much older man.