Sunday, September 2, 2012

African Woman/ Lady

If you call am woman 
African woman no go ‘gree
She go say, she go say 'I be Lady' oh

She go say I be Lady o

She go say 'I no be woman'
She go say 'market woman na woman'
She go say ' I be lady oh'

I stumbled upon an argument on a group I belong to on Facebook, and the topic we were discussing was the advantages of marrying from your tribe. Someone made a comment and it goes thus:

''Somehow, it is easier when you marry someone who understands you, your tradition, the type of food you like, your people etc. For instance, in Urhobo land, a wife must respect and especially greet the relatives of the husband as if they are older than her as long as she meets them while contracting the marriage. A 30yr old bride will normally say 'Migwo to a 20 yr old inlaw according to tradition. An outsider will find this very strange. In other words, marrying from your tribe or region solves a great deal of marital problems. The Jews and Arabs will only marry their people following this reasoning!'

Now for those who don't know what the meaning of  'Migwo' is, I'll explain. It means 'I am on my knees', its a greeting a younger person gives to an older person in my tribe. The usual response is 'Vre-do' meaning 'Stand up, you have done well'...or something like that. Well it just doesn't feel right that I'd have to kneel down to a younger inlaw, someone I am older than, to greet him in the morning when I see him... or in the afternoon... or when he helps wash my car or something (Migwo is also used as 'thank you'). It doesn't make sense to me.. but this brings about serious disagreements in marriages. You hear learned men saying: 'you know its tradition, how can you greet my brother standing? eh en even if you senior him nko?'

She go want take cigar before anybody
She go want make you open door for am
She go want make man wash plate for her for kitchen
She want salute man she go sit down for chair 
She want sit down for table before anybody 

Nigga what? I don't want to be greeting my husband all the time on my knees... not to talk of his brother. What kind of stress is that?

 A man actually sent his wife packing once because she refused to greet him on both knees daily as well as kneel down when serving his food, her reasons were that its only God a human should kneel to... be ye man or woman.

So therefore... since I refuse to kneel down to my younger relatives in the future, does this make me non-african-like? Like Fela said, am I claiming 'Lady' and refusing to do the things a typical African woman should do? And meanwhile I hear that Yorubas also have this culture... I don't know about other tribes.

So guys, do you expect your wife to kneel for you and your relatives in Marriage? Women... is this something that is okay for you to do in this jet age.  Lemme know...

Also, what other tribes have similar terms and conditions for the women they marry? 


Nutty Jay


  1. One key to a successful marriage or relationship is UNDERSTANDING.A woman should be able to understand the kind of person her partner is.If he's the type who values tradition,then it's in her best interest to respect tradition or 'move on'.It's really no biggie kneeling to greet your husband or his relative,it portrays submission and that's a good thing.In Nigeria,we hold tradition dear,there are some that i don't joke with as well.If my partner cannot respect that,then we won't even get to the stage of marriage.

    Personally,i wouldn't want my wife to kneel to greet me,but then i'm a very minute fraction of the menfolk in Nigeria.

  2. Hain!! This submission is a serious son'thin. Is this the submission that was talked about in the bible?

    na wa na wa

  3. Weird culture you have there. Women slavery

  4. I respect tradition and in situations like these understanding and acceptance of one's culture and traditions are vital especially when considering marriage.

    Personally speaking, I don't kneel. And would not marry a man whose tradition would require that of me.

    Very informative. Thank you.

  5. Me too kitten... I won't marry a man who expects kneeling from me

  6. Oh goodness, i have so many angry things to say lol. Anywho, i proudly carry the title of Lady. All the pomp and circumstance of kneeling and greeting, especially to the extent you described, can never be my portion.

  7. In Yoruba land you do not have to kneel for your husband's younger siblings but you must call them 'broda' and 'aunty'...even 2year olds self.

    I love and respect tradition oh but some of them just need to be erased.

  8. its always easier when you marry someone with the same cultural background as you. However, i always advice people marrying inter tribally to do some research and make sure you know what you are getting yourself into especially if you are marrying a traditional man.

    Generally, men like respect, they thrive on it but respect is always reciprocal in my opinion.

  9. Lady Ngo: Amen ooo!!!

    Lara: Yeah I heard that about the 'uncle' and 'aunty' thing...

    Doll: You are right about the research thing..

  10. Kneel down say wet in happen? I won't be kneeling to greet or serve food to anyone. What I look like? I wouldn't even expect a househelp to do the same so abeg abeg. I can't be with an extra traditional man, that's for sure.

  11. sentiments exactly. I can't imagine it...that's why I'm not thinking in line of marrying Urhobo

  12. Let me preface this with this. I was born in London and lived for a huge part of my life in England and America, so you don't think I'm a very "traditional" person. However, as a Yoruba girl I know for a fact that this is now only a symbolic gesture. It is not like people are saying amongst educated folk anyway and unless you've lived it you won't understand it, so it goes back to what the author said that that is why it is better for people from the same culture to marry, so they understand it. I had aunts who married into my mom and dad's families respectively and they did it, but not in the way you think if you read this. It's more like in jest. It's actually very funny and hilarious. For example, one aunt who was even older than both my mom and dad would see me and say (This is when I'm like 10 years old and female and she was a retired teacher turned business woman in her mid fifties), "My husband, all my problems are solved now you're here. I haven't seen anybody today but you today! I closed my eyes till you came. Honestly!" (tongue in cheek for, "I'm the only important person she cares to see who can solve all her problems") and she would also say that she is on her knees greeting me, when she is actually comfortably seated in a plush chair and everyone would just laugh and laugh. Another aunt gave all of us (all her husbands nieces and nephews born before she came into the family, pet names, so she didn't have to call us our names or put aunty or uncle before it. Mine was "Ayiluko" because I was chubby. My cousin's pet name was "Ma dan," which means keep shining because she was dark with smooth and shiny skin. So, it's not like you think it is. My culture is very colorful and although I hate some aspects of it like polygamy, which is a part of it, I would say that if a woman's biggest challenge in her marriage is calling members of your husband's family pet names or even uncle or aunty, the woman should count herself very lucky. That's my two cents...


Say it as you mean it... I can take it