As an African man I understand the need for a woman to accord a man his deserved respect as well as dignify and make him the head of the home. I understand our culture admonishes a woman to be totally submitted to her husband as a symbol of authority. But the hard truth is that most African men fail to understand that this should not be done at the expense of a woman’s own dreams and ambition. Respect and submissiveness does not mean enslavement.
How did we get here if you ask me? Well, it’s a known fact that the African culture has long upheld this culture of “enslavement” of a woman to her husband even if it is to the detriment of her own life or dreams. Our culture has over time instilled a distorted ideology in the girl-child which makes her come to terms with the fact that once she gets married, her personal goals, dreams and aspiration must be sacrificed to build her home. So, she thread cautiously to avoiding been seen as not been submissive when pursuing her dreams, when she gets married. Our culture has relegated her to the “kitchen and other rooms” as affirmed by Nigeria’s president few weeks ago. No wonder even African men who are public figures display this archaic culture in their style of leading (non-inclusion of women in key appointments) and in their communications. On the other hand the culture has also taught African men to claim superiority over the woman. This is why domestic violence is on the rise. The cause of this is not farfetched; African men feel disrespected and insecure when a woman proves to be more successful or up and doing in her quest to achieve her goals. He’s threatened by her effort to become a name to be reckoned with. This most African men thinks will make her more powerful and hence disobeys them.
Some African men are also quick to justify this notion by quoting from the Holy Scripture that admonishes wives to be submissive to their husband but forgets that the same scripture also admonishes the man to love his wife. How do you say you love your wife when she’s not permitted to take personal initiatives? How do you say you love your wife when you feel insecure because she’s pursuing her goals? And how do you say you love your wife when you resort to violence or abuse because you think her opinion does not count?
These questions and every other question that borders on abuse or violence against women can only be answered when African men are told this blunt truth: that Just as a man seeks to be at peak in his chosen career, business or endeavor, a woman also has the right to seek to be at peak in her chosen career, business or endeavor. This is not in any way trying to promote gender equality neither does this downplay on the right of a man to be the head over his wife. It is however to dissolve the disparity between what a woman is capable of doing and what she’s not capable of doing. Whether she can pursue her dream or just become a “full house wife” in order to support the man.
Until African men come to terms with this hard truth, abuses and discord in the home will remain inevitable. African men should start seeing their wives with the spectacle of trust and liberty. That just as I work towards achieving my dreams and aspirations, my wife should also be given the free course to pursue hers. This change in ideology begins with me, it begins with you!
One thought on “The Hard truth African men need to be told.”
I will chip in and say that the idea of the man being “head of the home” and the degrading treatment of women came from slavery and colonialism. The very Bible you quote from is the very bible that was used by the European oppressors to mentally enslave our people and prevent them from causing a revolution. You cannot expect the god of the Europeans to free you when the Europeans pray to that same god to enslave you. And all you need to do is look at the state of our countries to see exactly whose prayer he answered. That colonial mindset has been passed on to our current generation, and that is why Nigeria, and other formerly colonised countries of Africa, fail.
African spiritualities gave high reverence to women for being the mothers of our creation, and they were greatly respected before the Europeans ruined everything. The only way to get our men to respect women again, and thus making our countries great again ( as the proverb goes : A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground), is to return to our own African religions, and to reject the Western religion that has destroyed everything about us: our language (adulterated), our history (the destroyed Oyo and Benin kingdoms etc), our culture (gradually dying at the hands of Western influence), and our self-identity (for if all these are destroyed, then who are we? Africans…or black Europeans?)
Necessarily bitter food for thought.