On Bended Knee: This time, A different Position


Intertribal marriage has dated back countless years despite the controversy around it. Within just one country are so many differences, differences that are present amongst ethnic and tribal groups. Some groups are cordial with the other amidst an underlying animosity or cordial because they bear none at all, while other groups possess hatred against another. In fact, we can attest to past civil wars, the separations amongst a people that led to bloodshed and thus resulted in the inheritance of younger generations that harbor some resentment against, or fortunately harboring none at all.
And those ones, they are the ones allowing love to take its course, falling in love with an individual no matter the cultural background or tribal group; and so they do, the two accepts their real feelings and whom they have fallen in love with. Then the unique couple agrees that their dating has met its final stage and join at the altar, but the sound of hearing the answer “YES” to, “Do you, Adedayo Adeyanju take Ndidi Okeke to be your lawful wedded wife? And do you, Ndidi Okeke take Adedayo Adeyanju to be your lawful wedded husband? concludes a disapproval for those so loyal to the traditions of their own culture. The disapproval normally coming from elders who envisioned their descendents and offspring to marry from within their own tribe, in that they repeat their ancestors history; speaking the common language, and bearing children of the same, passing down to them the language, traditions and culture.
The name Adedayo is a masculine name from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria and Ndidi, a feminine name from the Ibo tribe of the same country. These names mean more than just crowned with joy and patience, but they represent…Differences. Differences that make it uneasy for family to accept the in-law and become a family united.
An unfortunate reality still remains there are stereotypes. No group is an exception so undoubtedly people have ideas they hold as standard about Ibo’s. Lasting views from a national standpoint and its citizens are that Ibo’s possess a sinful greed towards money and are ill-mannered. These general viewpoints would naturally make the family apprehensive in having their loved one engage in a marriage, much less a relationship. Moreover, when it comes to an Ibo marrying a person from the Yoruba culture elders too find the matrimony to be unsettling. Their worries are that the women would be taken advantage of and wrongfully treated, one concern being the belief that the men have wondering eyes, often leading to infidelity. The younger generation may also adopt a negative outlook once they notice that it took a girl from another tribe to fancy the bachelor into marriage, despite there being so many eligible bachelorettes to choose from within his own group. The nerve!
To satisfy everyone is impossible mainly because everyone has an opinion about who to be happy with. Instead there are barriers of stereotype that must cease in order that the in-law feels welcome into the family. Otherwise it becomes a cycle; a negative attitude born based on treatment of the family who won’t accept the in-law as their own. Understand, intertribal marriage is done not out of rebellion but out of love.
When the man asks the women for her hand in marriage, normally such proposal is carried out by the man on bended knee. In the Yoruba culture the proper way to greet elders is by bowing before them with the knees meeting the ground as a sign of respect, and for Ndidi, an Ibo girl now married to a Yoruba man she must adopt the culture as her own, and as a start greet on bended knee, one new adjustment in an intertribal marriage.
By Ashley I. Okonkwo

Photo Credit: http://cassandrabromfieldblogs.blogspot.com/2009/07/igbankwu.html


  1. The author of the article did a great job of letting her readers know the differences of marrying in between cultures. I think that it is a global issue because the elders may feel a sign of disrespect. But at the same time traditions do die out and things change over time. I would like to know if there is any punishment for intermarrying between cultures. And do you ever think that there will be an adaption for accepting other tribes. I feel that the elders and those who disapprove should be happy that their son/daughter is marrying an African. At least the African way of life will still be a part of the family in which they create. In addition, to the “NEW” family in which they are creating they can still include best of both worlds. Best of luck to those who are stepping outside the box and doing what essentially make them happy. Final note, I agreed with the author of the article when she said, they are not rebelling, and they are in love. Keep the articles coming.

  2. Another great article… i know who to come to for help on my essay's.

    True love knows no barriers…. if you truly love someone it shoudlnt matter if one is igbo yoruba or even hausa. These barriers still exist if an igbo boy says he's in love with a yoruba girl….. the common response is cant you find a BETTER igbo girl than those yoruba girls?

  3. What a great and well written article. this shed's great light on the realities of inter ethnic marriages. very informative. great follow up to your previous article. You hit the nail on the head!!!!

  4. As a fellow Nigerian I can testify to what you said about intertribal marriage. Even till this day and age, as example, my mother tells me that I have to marry someone from my Igbo tribe and I always replid by saying, well pray that the woman I would Love ends up being Igbo, because I would marry on the basics of Love not tradition. This article is really great Ashley because it underlines the main point of the topic of the article, which clealy states that the time has come for a "change" in our tradition and acceptance to new ones. I think it would even be better to marry from outside one's tribe, because it would be beneficial as in having a stronger genes.

  5. Ashley,

    This is the second article that I have read, and I appreciate your willingness to tackle controversial issues in Nigerian culture.

    As for the article,I find it interesting that the act of inter-tribal dating is more common among first-generation in America or Nigerian immigrants who have lived here for a long time. Could it be that these Nigerians have adopted American values of color-blind and free love and thus are more willing to breach ethnic barriers?

    P.S. The scenario that you present is quite familiar, lol!

    • Thank you. I agree with all that you have mentioned and I will continue to address the controversial issues on Nigerian and African culture. And yes it seems quite familiar,lol : )


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