Arranged African Marriages: A Success Story or A Cultural Woe.

“… African arranged marriages are more successful than American fairy-tale marriages…” Said one passenger with a thick African accent sitting across me, to his skeptical timid friend while on the number 2 train; in an apparently one hour long attempt to convince his friend to accord with him and support arranged-marriages as the main ingredient to a successful marriage. And knowing my nosy self, I was all up in their business listening.

Anyhow since I couldn’t had intruded in their conversation and say my two cents, I will bore you guys with my opinion on this issue; because it isn’t the first time I heard this statement. I’ve heard it many times before, in different tones and approaches; however with the same intention of  ridiculing American (western) marriages.

Now; It is actually true that America have one of the highest (if not the highest) divorce rate in the world, with a rate of almost 50%. However before you jump up and down to conclusions, take a step back from the tree and look at the forest. And ask yourself why is this? I mean, the man was basically right; African marriages are indeed more successful than those of the United States. But why? The answer to this may vary from person to person; so here’s mine.

The answer is… Women Rights.

That’s it.


The reason for this is because most marriages in Africa have a traditional backbone, with a present-little mix of western influence; however the majority is mainly still traditional. And we all know most if not all ancient traditions are extremely sexist toward women, from the savanna of Africa to the Caucasus mountains of Eurasia.

Almost every tradition on this planet had once and or still holds women down to a lower level compared to men. There may be many reasons for this, however; one for sure is the physical differences between the sexes. Men are naturally stronger; therefore within the early stages of our evolution (Homo Erectus), I’m sure most of the hunting and gathering was done by men due to physical strength (not to forget that the sexual dimorphism between males and females was greater then, than now), and the “housework” and every other aspect of caring was done by the women, the natural nurturers. Therefore it’s only logical that the one who brings food back to the compound (men) to be the one in charge, and it’s through this that sexism arose.

Now back to our topic. Knowing this, it’s only clear that in traditional (sexist) cultures, women don’t know their rights. I can’t say they don’t have rights, because everyone have rights-natural rights; it only takes courage and skepticism to know them. In many African places marriages are arranged. The man sees you, your picture, and or hears of you; then he suddenly knocks on your door with his family and talk to your parents. The next thing you know, you’re being introduced to your future husband; you like it or not (yes many are forced). Where’s the love? They will tell you that: you will grow to “love” him. And how old is he? Many of the times, he’s almost your father’s age; and you’ll be lucky if you’re not his third wife. Anyhow, now the question comes to… who gave anyone the right to arrange the future of another person?

The facts behind this marriage hustling and the African women getting no say in who they really want to marry, is the backbone of why African marriages are more “successful” than those of the United States. Because once the woman gets no say on who she wants to marry, she gets no say if she’s going to divorce.

And most of the times when African men gets tired of their wives and wants divorce, however can’t because of the traditional and family pressures and the shames behind divorce that the society puts on them; they just solve it by marrying another woman. And when the African women gets tired of their husbands and wants divorce… they just cry and accept what the sexist society has put on them.

Now, imagine a man treating his wife bad in the United States, let alone threaten with polygamy. His wife will leave him faster than a bullet from a gun.

Many men are abusive toward their wives, and are very unfaithful; this is common all over the world. And in a society such as that of the United States, women have the rights to leave their husbands whenever maltreated and or heartbroken. However in African arranged marriages, the women can’t leave; they just have to endure it and most of the time welcome the new younger wives of their distrusted husband. Because polygamy is nothing but institutionalized unfaithfulness.

And this is the reason why, “… African arranged marriages are more successful than American fairy-tale marriages…“.

*Note: This doesn’t apply to all African women of-course.

Well this is just a one man’s words.


About shakanova

I am water my friend


  1. Marie Toure

    Well Ajani, I think you did a great job explaining the reason why African marriages are more successful. I could not agree more everything you said is so true and relevant especially when it comes to human rights….in African cultures, women do not have these rights not only because they are not aware of it, but also in most cases, they are perceive as property of men….anyway great article with great points.

  2. Alpha Diallo

    Man, this is a tough subject. I’ve seen plenty of my cousins get railroaded thru this stuff.

    First thing tho, i think the initial statment to the effect that “arranged african marriages are more successful than american ones” begs the question. That is, it automatically assumes that what makes a marriage successful is the lack of divorce. Does a 50-year marriage where there was never any love, no happiness and sparse sex, where one spouse continuously abused the other, where the children come out fucked up, count as a “success” just because there was never any divorce? Says who?

    The only thing that can be said as a FACT is that traditional arranged marriages in general, tend to LAST LONGER than modern marriages in western cultures. And you’re right, the lack of women’s rights (or any rights, for that matter) in african society is a major cause of this. But I think you’ve got the wrong reasons as to why american/modern women leave their husbands — namely, due to abuse.

    First of all, women are also great abusers of men, in case you’re not aware. But even besides that, women don’t generally leave men because they’re abusive. In fact, women are notorious for staying with, and even seeking out assholes and making up all kind b.s excuses for their abusive behavior. Women leave men precisely because they’re “nice” and have no control over their lives and relationships, aka, if they’re pussies. And there is no bigger pussy than the present-day american male! Sorry dudes, but it’s the truth. And on top of this, divorce laws favor women immensely – in addition to “talking half”, they also get the house, the kids, alimony, child-support, etc… so they have every incentive to seek out separation.

    I’m sure there’s lots more reasons as to why american marriage is f*cked up, but that “funny” arranged marriage sh!t your african train rider was peddling definitely ain’t the solution.

    Peace, hippie. 🙂

    • Ajani

      Yes indeed hippie, there are many reasons why divorce is prevalent in the US and A.
      Just a few notes… The owning houses and properties divorce laws are based on who makes less. I.e. if your woman makes more than you, and ya get divorced, you will get the property (i.e. 50%)… vice-versa. However men usually make more than their wives, so it’s more prevalent to hear women winning over properties.

      And by successful i meant continuously, and that’s the whole point. Although there’s no divorce, many of those arranged marriages have no happiness. And usual in a place like in the US.. it would’ve ended in divorce.

      And I gotta agree with you with women loving badboys instead of good boys.. sounds like my nxt topic :}

      Thanks Again hippie

  3. naboulove

    Hum interesting topic . Coming from an arranged marriage (as most fulanis of my generation), I was raised with stories of my aunts who ran away from their elder husbands (too old for them) , who couldnt finish their studies because they were married to illiterate old “farts”, etc. I believe in the power of choice.And my mum who got married (by force) to my father was lucky in those days to have a visionary husband who sent her to highschool etc. & sadly as usual (the good one never last, she was a widow at 20, but refused to marry any other cousin or uncle proposed by the family. She taught me one thing Your degree & your work are your first love” & I have been raised as an independant strong woman freed from the chain & the stereotypes declaring that a non married woman is worth nothing. @Alpha loooool . Thanks Ajani . Very nice topic.

  4. aisha balde

    lol well this is very funny cause i feel as though i am in this boat and i dont like it this guy asked for my hand in marrige cause he really liked the sound of my name and my dads business his 33 and i am 17 and i hate it that my grand parents love him so much his never seen me and i have never seen him he sent me an e-mail 2 months ago i have not replied cause i am not the traditional type of girl most of the time i am half naked in my living room dancing to some beyonce or rihanna i really dont have time for a man nor a kid cause the minute u r maried u fall pregnant i am a child and i will not look after another child i want to live first and b me and i hate being told wat to do and god help my husban the day he is unfaithful or marries another women wow he will die slowly so will she and back to this 33 year old guy who is not working who do u take care of me and like i have seen so many of my friends married at a young age they have no freedom nor voice and these guys just abuse them physicaly,mentaly and financialy and i always cry cause my mom is so smart she was top of her class throughout school then she married my dad that promised her that she would go 2 school now she has 4 kids and far away from her family and she is so finnancially dependent on my dad his a good man they argue some times but his never hit her which is good cause i dont know what i would do if he did but i can see were aranged marriges come from our parents pick who they think is best for us and therefor we should not alow our selfs to b forced into one all men are the same they r all pigs lol watched this really good american movie about it and it was brilliant and if u read the book a thousand spendid suns u will cry it about all this arranged marrige he was way older and he got second wife and he hit her all the time and at the end she paid for it wow men they can make me sick thats why i do kick boxing so i can kick my husbands ass if he misses with me sorry i know its long but i had lots to say lol mwah!

    • Ajani

      Lol, I know you. :]
      Good luck with that wedding affair you got there. But a big advice is: Finish school first before all, I’m sure your parents will understand.

  5. mal. mai-chindo jumbam

    First I think the African traditional/cultural institution deserve credit for sustaining/keeping homes intact, secondly the likes of Ajani, Nabou, Hippie and my self now have a reponsibity to set the agenda for these traditional African institutions, i.e. incoporating viable economic activities, adopting apropriate technology in our productivity and cautiously questioning what is socially acceptable, these are a few of many ways that I think our priviledge of getting an education can support the wider African society.
    Ajani, keep the good work on!

  6. Nenen Bah

    Well done Ajani and you guys above for responding. Now, our generation need to get work, because this is our job to fix and the rest of us to remain/mantain/be open-minded. Because this topic is very sensetive, I feel like almost in every Fulani family ther’s an untold story on “Arange Marriage” there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to opinion. I just like to say don’t judge a book by it cover, because family dilema in Africa justifies anything and everything same as love and hate in America.

    thanks a million for addressing this topic.
    Job well done

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