All in Nigerian InterEthnic Love

Pain. Despair. Wins? - How My Nigerian Ethnicity Ruined my Chance at Love

I was midway through one of my university internships when I met him - who I fondly called E. I remember getting home that day and telling my cousin I had found my husband. He had just been employed at the firm and though I knew almost nothing about him at the time. I just felt he was the one.

Days later, I found out he was from Edo state, and I was all shades of sad because I knew my parents would definitely have issues with him.  So I went from seeing him as ‘the one’ to seeing him as my senior colleague. He being a naturally jovial person made me start having a crush on him. I didn’t pay much attention to it because of our ethnic differences and also because I knew my internship was coming to an end.

Nigerian Inter Ethnic Love Stories || Mercy & Chris Okere

The first time I saw the name 'Mercy Haruna - Okere', I knew that I'd love to interview her and hear her inter ethnic story especially because I had assumed that the name Haruna was somewhat affiliated to the Northern part of Nigeria. So after many months of looking forward to this feature (and actually meeting her in person!), I'm glad I can finally share her and Chris' lovely story and oh-so-beautiful photos of their family. 

Mercy is Igala from Kogi State and Christian is Ndoki/Igbo from Rivers and Abia State. They've been married for four years now and currently live in Kent with their beautiful 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.

According to Mercy "Chris was fascinated by the fact that I was born in his home city, Port Harcourt (PH) and I think I fell in love with his bald head… #TeamBaldie". They both grew up around ethnic and racial diversity, and have succeeded in having a beautiful union despite inter-cultural differences. They share their experiences with us - about the beauty and challenges of inter-ethnic unions - one of which is Mercy's inability to understand some Chris' favourite foods...

Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories || Yewande & George Thorpe

Yewande and George celebrated their 3 year wedding anniversary just a few days ago, and it's the perfect time to share their experiences as an inter-ethnic Nigerian couple. Weirdly enough, she was one of the first people I reached out to in relation to this column.

I ran into her on-line in a very funny way. If you recall from the hilarious and untold bits bits of my wedding, the driver of the car I was to ride in to church couldn't be found, and so my sisters and I ended up in the photographer's car singing and dancing on the way to the church. It was hilarious (video snippet here), and when the photographer posted it up, Yewande commented saying cheekily "Driver & photographer for the price of one!" I later realised that for her wedding which was a few months after mine, she had planned to use the same photographer!

Yewande is Yoruba from Ogun State and her husband, George is Efik from Cross River state, although he's from an inter-ethnic household as his mum is from Delta state.  I'm so excited to share her love story and experience. From the one thing she's strike out from her husband's culture, to how she's pretty much an expert at Efik dishes! 

Fun Fact: She and her husband were born on the same day and are birthday mates. How cool! 

Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories || Lara & Teshola Idowu

Lara is such an amazing and kind-hearted person! We had the chance to meet up during my birthday getaway in Dubai. She was so gracious, invited me into her lovely home, fed me with the tastiest pepper soup and showed me round her beauty studio. As a fashion and beauty entrepreneur, she sews, teaches, consults and offers makeup services.  When she realised I ran this column on the blog, she was very willing to share her experiences and all I had to do was ask.

She's Yoruba, from Ekiti state in Nigeria (though her mum is from Ondo State) and been married for four years to Teshola (although you'd be forgiven if you thought that was their surname as she often goes by the name LaraTesh). On the face of it, their first Names and surname sure make it look like they're both Yoruba. But Tesh, a financial analyst is Itsekiri from Delta State, though his mum is from Benin. Don't you just love these culture fusion?

In her words "the nature of my job, has exposed me to working with people from different ethnicity and culture from all over the world. This has made me conclude that we are not different one another. What we see as different is what is adding color to this world and making us stronger". I couldn't agree more.

In this awesome interview, she spills on their inter ethnic union, how she has Igbo roots, opposition received, her dramatic proposal and the one food from Tesh's culture that she can't fathom eating! Of course, we have her gorgeous and gleeful photos to swoon over! Enjoy.

Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories || Aisha & Olamide Craig

I've secretly been looking forward to this feature! And perhaps a few people were hoping for it as well. Shortly after I reached out to Olamide, someone sent me a message on Instagram advising that it'd be great if they shared their story as they've got all of the three major Nigerian ethnic groups! Plus I was hoping that we'd get to feature more Hausa or northern stories here. 

Anyway, I present to you Olamide and Aisha! Olamide and I went to University together and he was always such a pleasant chap. He is Yoruba, from Abeokuta in Ogun state. He was born in Lagos and is a Pastor, Physician, Photographer and Poet.

Aisha, (or more completely Aisha Nkiru Ademide) is from Zazzau and is part Hausa, part Igbo, part Bonny and part Efik. Born in Lagos she grew up in Kaduna, Lagos and Onitsha. Aisha works in Banking. I'm so thankful to both of them for sharing their experience and their gorgeous photos! As usual, I bring you all the scoop. Enjoy! 

East meets West || Our Traditional 'Igba Nkwu' Wedding Ceremony!

It's our three year 'Tradiversary' today!  That's new lingua for the anniversary of our traditional wedding ceremony. Time really does fly. I remember how we said we'd make a picture album of our traditional wedding photos shortly after the wedding. 3 years in and we still have no physical album. tsk tsk. Thank goodness for soft copy photos

I can't believe it's been three years. It seems just like yesterday I was debating what outfits to wear for the ceremony. While doing some cleaning over the weekend, I stumbled on the first outfit I wore on the day, and I realised I hadn't worn it again since that time. 

As I haven't really shared photos, about the traditional ceremony as I have with the church wedding, I thought it's a good time to do so. Looking at the photos, I can see how much Tee and I seem to have changed! We look so young. More of Tee than me actually. I must be doing such a great job! Anyway, we're thankful for growth and all of God's graces. 

The Wedding Party Movie + 4 Things to Note When Planning an Inter-Ethnic Nigerian Wedding

So I promised to write a post on the rather box office breaking Nigerian movie "The Wedding Party". Not because I'm a movie critic, but because the subject was one quite close to my heart and I could relate with a few of the experiences.

You probably can tell already that the subject is Inter-Ethnic marriages and initially when I started blogging, I thought that's what my entire blog would be about. Not close, but at least I have a dedicated section for that - Inter-Ethnic Love Stories

So this movie, was about Dunni Coker and Dozie Onwuka's wedding and all the intricacies surrounding the wedding. Of interest to me, was the fact that Dunni was Yoruba and Dozie was Igbo. So this was an inter-ethnic Wedding. 

It reminded me of some of the issues that are likely to come even when planning such wedding and how it could potentially cause conflict! So using my experience as well, let me share some of what I noticed.

Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories || Heart Breaking Stories of Broken Relationships, Mistrust & Bias

You probably know by now that Nigeria's diverse ethnicity intrigues me. Just recently I was having a chat with Tee and we wondered what the different cultures and ethnic groups would have been like, had there been no alamalgation and creation of the country Nigeria. Our cultures are so different, yet so similar! I remember back in high school, marvelling at the fact that one word could have the same meaning across several Nigerian languages. These days, I often see more of a fusion.

Despite these vast differences, when people genuinely look past it and form genuine friendships or relationships, I think it's worth applauding. And when it's a relationship or marriage, I think such parties deserve a double round of applause.

So while I wish that could be the case, I'm obviously not naive. A lot of relationships have failed because of the difference in culture. Perhaps more have failed than succeeded. But does it have to be this way? Are there lessons to learn?

Three people have agreed to share their stories anonymously. I hope it challenges us to free ourselves (as much as possible) and be more open to tolerance for one another! Love doesn't and shouldn't come in a box. 


Nigerian Inter-ethnic Love Stories: Vivian, Olive, Lamide & Sogie Share their Experience on Growing up Mixed

Finally, here's the concluding part of this blog post where I asked some 'cool kids' to share their  experiences growing up in a mixed home and their thoughts on inter-ethnic marriages.

As I've probably said before, it's one thing for 2 individuals to get fall in love based on their own interests. But what if it's not the best circumstance  and environment for the kids?

It's a bit of a stretch but sort of like two AS genotype couples ignoring the fact that they could potentially have SS kids and that wouldn't be best for the kids. Thankfully, judging from the responses of these four (and the earlier four)... i think inter ethnic homes are thankfully safe, and sound like so much fun.

I must admit some of the stories clearly got me laughing & wondering what it'd have been like if I grew up in a mixed home. I guess our kids will be lucky and hopefully have such fun stories to share!

I spoke to Viv whose dad would almost twist his tongue trying to speak her mum's language; and to Olive who considered getting married to a Hausa man just to complete the circle. Lamide shares the one food he thinks we shouldn't eat & Sogie says she often uses a common opinion held about Bini people to her advantage!


Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories: YJ, Anire, Berry & Ekene Share Their Experience on Growing up 'Mixed'

Although I probably had a few around me growing up, I wasn't really conscious of kids who had parents that were from different ethnic groups in Nigeria. This was till high school - my closest friend's mum and dad were Yoruba and Igbo respectively. I was pretty intrigued. She had both Yoruba and Igbo names - although she had two of the former and one of the latter. But her first name was English. She was probably the first person to pique my interest on inter-ethnic marriage in Nigeria. 

Many years later, I've come to see so many kids who grew up this way. But the curiousity remains: what was growing up like, what foods did they eat? Did they associate primarily with one culture? Do they automatically learn how to speak both languages?