photo credit: thebeat99.com
Photo credit: thebeat99.com

Jonadab Utoh has a job but is looking for work. He does a lot of things and among those is speak his mind. He enjoys moments he succeeds at forcing himself to write.
Dreamer, lover, bathroom grammy winning singer.

It’s been more than a few days since my dear sister, mama 100 watts, commissioned me to do a piece on inter-tribal relationships for her delightful blog. Since then I have spent so much time thinking about the article and researching it but not even a minute writing anything.
That was until just now, until I saw it, until I saw the movie; “12 Years A Slave”. Now that’s one wonderful movie in all ramifications, you all should see it. To those who have seen the movie, I am sure they are bound to ask what the movie has to do with this piece. Well, to you our esteemed ‘normal’ reader there might not be a relationship or if any, it just might be too far-fetched. However to scatter-brained me, here is what came to mind: what if everything that befell “Platt” (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in the movie was perpetrated by blacks and the only reason behind it was because he was from another state? I bet no one would watch or relate with that movie and 20th Century Fox studios would have been occupied by now!
In my view, if a proponent of tribalism directs that movie that would be the end result.

Now before we go on here are a few facts you should hold on to:
• I (the writer) am not Racist, Racially biased or Tribalistic.
• “Tribalism is a disease passed on from generation to generation by ignorant parents to their gullible children”. – Nairaland comment

In today’s world, regardless of which angle you look at it from, tribalism/racism just does not make any sense. Coming home to us, it’s just appalling to think that a belief like this is still somewhat prevalent.From grand-parents to parents to children the virus continues to spread. It does gladden my heart though that in the midst of it all, love keeps finding its way, not minding the color of the skin that houses the heart.

Yes, more and more inter-tribal relationships are springing up around us and it’s a good thing, even if only to foster unity among us. However this is not to say that, like every other venture there is, inter-tribal relationships doesn’t have its drawbacks. It does. From families to friends, not everyone will be happy about it. From language barriers to insecurity, you’ll from time to time feel left out. The negatives will always be there and you may not be able to surmount them all but believe me that’s not reason enough to throw in the towel. As far as the positives go, here is what my personal experience and research says: Make sure of the more important things.

For me, here are the more important things; Love, Trust, Understanding. Now let’s break them down a little.

Love: Almost everyone agrees it’s a feeling. Well I say it’s more than that. It should be a feeling strong enough to make u reach a decision. Don’t just be in love, decide and conclude in your heart that the one you are with is the one you want to be with above and beyond all else.

Trust: beyond all doubt and completely but please not blindly. Also make sure it goes both ways. In the words of the rapper Phyno; “don’t give ears to ndiasiri” (rumor mongers). Be your own person. Stand for what you believe in, if you do believe in that relationship then be its biggest champion. Be honest always.

Understanding: of each other and your circumstances. Be willing to bend, be willing to learn, flexibility is key. Develop a thick skin. Remember it’s the two of us not all of us. Make and stand by your decisions as a couple. Limit third party interference.

Beyond all this, know that this is not fashion, don’t do it because it’s in vogue or because your friends are doing it, neither should you run from it because your mum said so.

If and where your heart finds love and your head sees reason, go for it.


3 thoughts on “HEARTS OF A COLOR

  1. Whether you are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Urhobo , Ijaw e.t.c, we all have pre-conceived ideas about every tribe in the country. These stereotypes are passed down from our parents or elders and even from generations before them. Presently, you hear parents reminding our generation what the Hausa/Fulani & Yoruba did to them during the Nigerian civil. Something that has little or nothing to do with you & the relationship you have at the moment. We accept these notions and soon they become part of how we assume certain groups should behave. Tribalism has become the core and foundation in Nigeria. Here, it has affected the way we view marriage just like my friend wrote above. But it has even done more than that. How I wish its that easy to marry whoever you want without minding whose ox is gored.
    People who fall in love for the right reasons and see a future together as a lovely husband and wife, but from different tribes we see it impossible for them to ever getting married because both parents from each family will never approve of it. Most end up marrying someone they do not love. This in many cases has led to unhappy marriages, cheating spouses, broken homes and high divorce rate. Given the nature of the family as the building block of society any impact on marriage can lead to much greater societal phenomena such as unemployment, injustice and even the current global scourge, terrorism.
    Just like the writer rightly pointed out, LOVE,TRUST & UNDERSTANDING are veritable ingredients to a successful marriage but the question is, ARE THEY ENOUGH? A critical look will show will show that our cultural background sometimes acts as an inhibition to our personal goals and happiness, particularly in marriage. The reason being that every individual is molded by the culture of the society into which he/she is born. We know, for example, that how we see shapes and colors is to some extent determined by this process of molding. Even from a biblical stand point, ST. Paul in his epistle to the Roman’s said among other things “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. In love of the brethren be tenderly affectionate to one another; in honor preferring one another”. I will end by saying that where there is love, there is friendship and friendship leads to unity the giant that can obliterate tribalism. We cannot in this twentieth century tolerate tribalism particularly in marriage (hope our culture & its custodians will help us actualize this) and this objective could be achieved by mutual understanding. Just Like Mother Teresa Of Calcuta said ” We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love….if you judge people, you have no time to love them”. I believe we will do better when we consciously work to exterminate all tribal lines particular in marriage.


What do you think? Let us know

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s