Nigerian parents are notorious albeit unintentionally for being difficult when it comes to marriage. There’s a number of things that come up, from ethnic group to hometown to family history to religion and so on.
It’s sometimes difficult for this generation to see reason with them and I can’t fault them, I have had difficulties too. One thing I’ve noticed over time is the massive generation gap between parents and young adults. No generation gap has been this massive as regards, culture, social practices, education, technology, lifestyle.
It’s often common to see parents and grandparents agree on issues than parents and young adults of today… The former group had arguably less of a generation gap in the areas aforementioned. Technology being the chief aetiology for this massive generation gap isn’t letting up, so I expect a similar gap between young adults and future parents but I think it’ll be easier to live with the future generation cos we young adults were born into this era, we didn’t bump into it as adults from a different era.
That’s all by the way though… But understanding this goes a long way in helping us understand why parents seem to be difficult in these areas.
We talk about how they worry about where you’re marrying from and all, maybe we’ll all understand better and can fix things if we try to find out why they worry.
In the past 20-40 years, rural-urban migration, more accessible education, technology and urbanisation of cities really changed the landscape of things. Prior to these years, urban migration and urbanisation of cities wasn’t widespread, tech wasn’t this advanced here. Most people often lived in their hometown, and they were shaped by the cultural practices and lifestyle of their people. Education didn’t change much as they didn’t start schooling early and most often were shaped by the practices at home, schools were also largely in these far and urban cities and most couldn’t access/afford it. These factors in these years made being recognised by your hometown a thing. Being called an “Mbaise person” made sense because you grew up there, lived like they do, indulged in their peculiar practices and traditions, as a man or woman.
Fast forward 20-40 years later, Urbanisation of cities, technology and urban migration changed things a whole lot. Education became more accessible too. Cultures mixed and were largely diluted by Urbanisation. But one thing hasn’t change much and that’s the perception and judging of people based on where they came from (hometown/tribe). Our parents and grandparents who moved to the cities at older ages or didn’t even move at all still had that orientation that you are largely where you’re from, I can’t blame them because that’s what they know, it’s how things were in their time. They grew up in that era.
Understanding this and making our parents see this will go a long way in changing the perception of parents on how much someone’s tribe and hometown makes up a person.
In this era, it doesn’t make much sense to stop your child from getting married to an “Ngwa man” simply because his ancestors hailed from Ngwa. This is probably someone who was birthed in the city (Lagos for instance), never really visited his hometown that much, schooled and lived in the city, works in the city or even in a foreign country and arguably is more of a “Lagos man” than an “Ngwa man”. Maybe our parents think the stories, lifestyle and practices associated with people from certain places can be passed down via blood or is something innate in us. It’s our duty to make them see why things are largely different now. People are shaped largely by where they grew up in and also by the people they interacted/interact with, not their hometown or tribe.
I do think we can do better as regards understanding things better and being better parents. The generation gap isn’t letting up and we have to advance with it.
What do you think? Is the prejudice from the older generation as regards hometown and tribe justified in this present era? I’d love to know.