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Language “The problem is language; it’s the major issue” 36-year-old Alexi from Congo told me.“For most of us English is not our first language, we think in our mother tongue then translate it into English.If you can communicate with someone in a language that you both feel comfortable with, it makes being with that person easier.

It was for this reason that I began to look for like-minded guys who were also from my own culture, guys I could relate to. I know my family would be pleased if I brought home a Congolese man, but what if I do so to my own detriment? Love blinds common sense.”The idea of retiring in a country totally unfamiliar to me is quite daunting and something I know would take a lot of discussion with my future partner, if he happened to have a different country of origin.

An older woman asked me: “How many mixed cultured couples do you know who have grown old together?

” True I didn’t know any mixed elderly couples, but perhaps this is because there is a greater diversity of Africans living in the diaspora than there were 30 years ago.

“Dating is one thing, but marriage is another”, an aunty told me. Marriage and dating are two different things, clearly, but which factors are fundamental when deciding whom to marry? Love is love, as one of the respondents said, but is it better to stay within cultural boundaries to save ourselves from the potential future troubles that might result from mixing cultures – as some elders advice – or should one ignore boundaries and deal with issues if they arise? Having to decide which culture my children followed more or which one was dominant in my household is another consideration, as I find it important for reasons of identity.

African parents, don’t joke with them Young and not-yet-married Nowadays, in this current generation of young-and-not-yet-married, or recently married, we don’t so much as bat an eyelid when we see mixed couples, but as one uncle put it to me, “Where would you live when you retire? If you married a Nigerian, how would you cope if he wanted to retire in Nigeria? Parents’ generation In our parents’ generation we know marrying within their own culture – even tribe – was paramount as they tried to maintain cultural cohesion and identity.

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Furthermore, as a new generation embracing and becoming more comfortable with cultural differences, might not some of us become examples for future generations of the mixed-culture couples that lasted, if we last?

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