I am going to put this out there.. this post is kinda piggy backing on my post about Shattered Illusions and Soiled Doves… as in … the post preceding this one.
I am in one i.e an interracial relationship. (if you had not figured that out, you are a danderhead kabisa, whatelse would I be doing in Denmark). I will spare you all the details of how and when we met, but suffice to say we have been together for 6+ years. Earlier in our relationship I was obsessed with all things interracial. I read everything I could get on interracial relationships (most which were America books.. so kinda gave on a skewed point of view) , in England it was all about Afro Carribean/White or White/Indian. I am yet to find anything written from the African male or female point of view. Anyway, my obession died around the 2 year into our relationship. The first 6 to 7 months, I thought was mchezo.. it was not supposed to be serious.. well.. we are still here.
When he finally met the familia…(again, not going into details) one of the concerns that struck home with me was when a family member said
“you know these relationships do not have a history of lasting long”
I was highly aware of that in the begining and through the years had kinda forgotten it. Though we did attend an accquaintance’s wedding in 2003 and later in 2005 they were divorced …yes.. it was an interracial couple. I am yet to meet a black and white couple that have been together for at least 20 years. I recently met a lady who had been in a marriage for 24 years and then he met his workmate and they were history. About a month ago.. Big Al comes and tells me that it was on the news that the highest number of divorces in Denmark were between interracial marriages. Interracting with the ladies at the Beauty Shop has sort of brought this issue to the fore front.
To be honest I cannot help but wonder if interracial relationships are doomed to fail. The statistics do speak against it… and I am yet to meet or even hear of any that has lasted long. What is long in my books……. well I used to say 20 years.. but now I have pushed it to 25years… .
So here is a toast to interracial marriages/relationships. I do not think the challenges down the line are any different from other couples. I believe initially there are challenges and in our cases most were external rather than internal. I do believe that Black male/ white female, find it more difficult especially when the man moves back home. But I also do believe that the same challenges faced in IR(interracial relationships) are the same face in any intercultrual relationships. The commonest stereotype ICR in Kenya is the Kikuyu-Luo relationship. In Uganda it is the Muganda-Acholi relationship.
In my simple thinking, I believe that the bottom line is culture and a willingness to work at cultural differences as well as protecting the relationship from “every frigging body else who has an opinion” about the relationship.. and let me tell you.. wako wengi sana….
I will end with an ancedote about these “every frigging bodies” with an opinion. Lets call him X.
Now X is a guy who I went to Uni with and I really did not know him.. got to know him through a friend and we were on hi-hi basis. He was one of the guys in the “Hot guys club” of my peer group at Uni. We finish Uni.. we all hang out more or less the same places and bump into each other now and then. (I say this to let you know how little I knew this guy)
So one day, I am surfing at a Net Cafe and he walks in while I am walking out and the nerve or the man he says something to effect…
X: Hi.. how you doing..
Mrembo:.. Hi.. I’m alright (thinking the conversation is over.. trying to pay my bill)
X: So what’s up with the hair…. you need to do something with it…(as he lift his hand to touch my hair…..)
Mrembo: Looking at him like he has lost his mind…”what is it to you”? baring my teeth at him and ducking my head away from his hand.
X: laughs a little uncomfortable.. “It could look good.. not this natural stuff… anyway, what is this I hear you’re with a muzungu.. you mean us guys were not good enough”
Mrembo: Looking at him like he has fallen and hit his head and baring my teeth at him…”Since when was it your concern, see ya around”.
I have always wished I had witty comebacks.. but that was the best I could do.
PS. When were are walking around in Nairobi or Kampala, please try not to stare.. I do tend to wave back!!!!!!!! or hiss something rude.