Naija woman, Oyinbo man!

by Benedicta Onyero Droese

Years ago, I ran into an old colleague from college.  His eyes drifted down to my fingers. He must have seen the ring.  “Congratulations!” he said. “Dude from your country?” “Nope” I replied. “He’s a cross between Bono (the lead singer for U2) and Steven Seagal.” Suddenly, the warm smile that had softened his face and greeted me moments before disappeared!  He glared at me, shook his head from side to side and bellowed, “You married a white guy? …Blah, blah, blah… don’t you know what they did to us 400 years ago? (Okay, maybe he said 200 or 100- I don’t remember). And by the look in his eyes I was ready to bet my oldest daughter’s iPod, PlayStation and Razor Cell that he wanted to ruffle me up a bit…but, but…that could potentially translate to some quiet time in the slammer and I think he knew the rules! I too, was not oblivious to where he was headed. After all, he was not the first black individual to slap me in the face with that proverbial “how could you?” cold stare! But, this time around, I was not in the mood to engage in any sort of war of words. “Have a nice day” I said and simply walked away!

And such is the classic reaction of a great number of black men (maybe without the verbal outburst) when they see me with, or find out that my better half is more like that “finger licking mmmmmmm so good” inside filling of an Oreo cookie!  Women on the other hand, particularly Nigerians, tend to ask, “So what is it like?”  Typically, I’ll toss out something like “Well, it’s probably the exact opposite of most things you know about a Nigerian man” or reply with “What exactly do you want to know?” See, quite frankly, such a topic of conversation is never an issue to me, until someone makes it an issue. And speaking of issues, just recently, I ran across Sabella’s article “Nigerian men and their foreign wives.” I also read a big chunk of the subsequent remarks. Then it I dawned on me that there’s more to a contemporary Oyinbo man in comparison to a Naija man than meets the eye. (I say contemporary because in many parts of the Deep South and rural America, there are still countless family structures that are apple to apple to the traditional African family setup; the man literally or symbolically wears the pants-take your pick!) And I believe that numerous Nigerian women in similar matrimonial boats would find most, if not all of my observations universal!  To all others with a curious George syndrome, I’m sorry I can’t help you with what makes foreign men tick because I am clueless.  However, I hope this inside scoop from the horse’s mouth is enough to pacify your itch about what it’s like to be married to my husband, who happens to be a white man!

One of the major complaints some of my friends have about their husbands (Nigerians) is their unwillingness to lift a finger to help out around the house even if they both hold full time jobs.  These women are expected to man all domestic chores and shoulder most tasks associated with raising the children without the tiniest whimper! (The same song plays in my home but with a slight twist.) First, let me say that in many ways, some of these issues that my counterparts grumble about are not exclusively unique to the Nigerian man. Men are men-FIRST-regardless of race! Armed with a healthy dose of testosterone, most men (with the exception of those really happy fellas) have this primal urge to dominate everyone and everything! And unfortunately, it includes trying to relegate women to docile roles.


To begin with, my husband does not hold me to the fire for not meeting those expectations. Neither does he make demands. He is laid-back, easy to please, and not finicky (although he may periodically whine like a baby if he gets leftover pizza instead of that plateful of rice and stew I promised to feed him.)John is quick witted, respectful; familiar with those two magic words “Please” and “THANK YOU” and knows how to use them frequently to get what he wants! 

His mother and younger sister are often puzzled and irritated because they believe that he makes me cater to his every whim (so, not true!)Yes, he prefers that I make or fix his coffee. But in their opinion, he’s capable of brewing a full pot for himself-and so he should. We’ve had discussions about my African culture and upbringing and I’ve made it clear to them that I don’t mind pampering my husband. Yet, they relentlessly tease and label him a Chauvinist! Care to take a wild guess about which one has been divorced for over twenty-five years and which is still single, pushing thirty-eight and has never been married? Catch my drift?


Next, some may say, “The African male does not view the African female as an equal.” Why should he?  Does anyone really believe that men and women are equals?  Is this why men are physically stronger, and only women are capable of giving birth? John considers me his best friend and partner (not his equal) and I’m okay with that train of thought. There’s a mutual respect in our relationship, and we’re both aware of our roles. He understands that part of his responsibilities as a husband and father is to protect and provide for his wife and children.  My obligation as a wife and especially as a stay-at-home mom is to serve, honor and cater to my husband’s needs.  Yes, I too, am expected to cook, clean, care for the children and manage other day-to-day household routine. Nonetheless, my husband is not completely insensitive to how heavy that “wife-mother” hat that most women wear regularly can get.  Every now and then, I could always count on him to come out of the left field with “do you need me to do anything?” Other times, I’d just ask him to chip in and he’s more than happy to give me a hand. Once, I came home from work a bit later than usual, and there he was in the kitchen making a God-awful mess!  He claimed he was trying to surprise me with a pleasant dinner so I wouldn’t have to bother with cooking. Let’s just say… one bite of that homemade lasagna…it was Papa John’s to the rescue.  Later, I patted him on the back, gave him thumbs up for his effort but begged him to stay the heck away from the kitchen!


At any rate, John is close to his mother and is never blatantly disrespectful to her.  But, on some family issues, my feelings and opinions tend to topple the scale. He is not afraid to stand up for me even if it means standing alone.  A couple of weeks ago, upon our return from a fun, but exhausting five-day carnival cruise to Key West and Nassau, Bahamas, it was decided by a simple toss of a coin that he and I should host thanksgiving (a yearly family tradition) at our home and invite all of our extended family members. I was not feeling hospitable.  I did not feel like slaving over the stove for personal reasons and I made sure that he knew it! Let me confess, throughout our thirteen years of marriage, I never knew he had it in him.  The words that came flying out of his mouth called for a full bottle of Listerine mouthwash! (And they say Nigerian men are verbally abusive?)…Seriously, only ten words came out of his mouth, “If you don’t feel like cooking, we’ll just order something” So, together we weighed our choices and looked at menu options. Ultimately, we ordered the “main course” from a fairly decent catering service and I was

more than happy to whip out a few side dishes and dessert! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, that’s my boy!

You may also like


pamela April 15, 2009 - 8:17 pm

absolutely true Bennie its time they helped their wives (if the wives work FT) disgraceful it is!

Youre a great woman!

Oh Boy April 5, 2007 - 11:28 am

I think it is high time we stopped comparing oyinbo and naija people – cuz it's the same sh*t whether u are naija or oyinbo. I have dated both and I have realized that the difference is not in being oyinbo or Naija but your persona. As for the author of this article, leave her alone if she loves her husband. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. She feels she has a better deal with her man…good for her. As for me, I will definitely want my kids to have Nigerian spouses – just personal preferences. But that doesn't mean my kids will do just that. We need to realize that not everyone will do stuffs the way we think stuffs should be done.

NneGood April 4, 2007 - 2:34 pm

To the author . . . great article and definitely a conversation piece. To poster #16 . . . these articles are there for people to enjoy. You willingly clicked on it and read it (though you claim you didn't). If you disagree, tell us why you disagree. I'm not saying you should have great things to say, but what do you mean by “I stopped reading . . .” and "what is the motive"? Anyway, here are my comments about the article: To the author, I disagree with you when you say that a Nigerian man would not be caught dead rolling on the floor with his kids. My dad is the biggest goof-ball. It's funny watching him as a "big man" back home 'cos I know the man behind the 3-piece Armani suit. It's the same man that makes you not want to pick up any phone call on April Fools Day for the fear of how he's going to get you this year (and despite the fact that we all know he will do something, he always seems to get us). Both my Mom and Dad had full time jobs and were in school full time when I was growing up, and they both cooked, cleaned and cared for us. My father LOVES MY MOM TO SHEGE!!! If you see the way he treats my mom, it just makes you wanna go get married. He was the kind of Dad that would jump up and down on the bed with us (though point the finger at us when my Mom got home), take us on to the amusement park and ride the scary roller coasters just to make us feel comfortable getting on. My brother is also a very romantic husband to my sister-in-law . . . I've seen him do the whole rose-petals from the driveway to the bedroom kinda thing with candles and 4-course meal. I'm married to a non-Nigerian man . . . not because I set out looking for a non-Nigerian, but because it's who I fell in love with. My husband is not white, but as far as most Nigerians that I deal with are concerned, he might as well be just because he doesn't share our culture and traditions. I got all the questions and nasty looks one can imagine: “What, so your own people are not good enough for you?” Funny enough, my husband can understand more Igbo than a lot of Nigerians in this country. He understands the culture more and probably like Nigeria more than most those who have been here for so long without touching base with the people they left behind. Like you said, different folks for different stokes. My relationship with my husband is something that I cannot put into words other than to say we are the perfect mate for each other. Perhaps, it’s because we started off as best friends . . . or maybe it’s the fact that I simply asked God to open my eyes and lead me in the direction of whom he has picked for me. It could be that we’ve known each other for so long and just knows all the things that would please the other. It could just be a simple combination — either way, I am happy that I don’t have to deal with a lot of the things I hear many women complaining about their husbands.

juliana marcus February 6, 2007 - 11:52 am

i love ur write up, and also inlove with your family, always be a good and wonderful mother

yours friend juliana(sunguestbook/abujaNig)

Edith January 28, 2007 - 12:34 pm

This article just made my day!! you certainly hit the nail on its head!!! Thanks

Ash Money January 24, 2007 - 2:20 pm


I found your article very interesting and insightful. My mother is a black dominican, a stout racist and she is married to a caucasian man. When I ask her how can she be a racist and married to a White man she tells me that if Brian(my step-dad) were purple she would have married him because he is a beautifl human being. Luckily I come from a unique family that is very accepting of these things. We are from northern California so no one stares or says ugly things, however when my parents come to visit me in the south our little rainbow coalition family gets trite stares and impolite treatment(which I always confront much to my mothers chagrin). I guess my point is I dont see why people care, true I dont love to see black men with white women but i dont care enough to give them dirty looks or make comments that make them feel uncomforatable. I guess in the end I feel that love is remarkable and if you are blessed enough to find true love who cares what package it comes in. Thanks for your article it sparked some interesting debate between me and my Nigerian boyfriend.

Pandy January 19, 2007 - 5:30 am

During college, in this particular talent contest, a young man from Africa came up to me and started talking. He was complimenting me on my presentation.

He asked me to have dinner with him. I said, "This is Alabama, are you crazy?" 1972. He answered, "I wasn't going to take you out anywhere, just to my apartment."

I popped off, "Not in this lifetime!" He smarted back with, "I didn't want you for a lifetime, just for a night. My father would disown me if I brought someone like you to our house." It was just about all I could do to keep from slapping him!

I didn't judge him for his color; just his manners and rudeness.

BTW, you have BEAUTIFUL children.

dee December 30, 2006 - 6:13 am


Sade December 21, 2006 - 7:24 pm

I'm not really sure what the purpose of the article is or exactly what I'm supposed to gain from it(it might be the headache I'm currently experiencing right now, seriously)but to me, men and women are equal but have different roles to play(even in the sight of God, all man are equal anyway) but on a serious note, Nigerian men have changed. Majority of them used to be hardworking and ready to take care of their own but nowadays, women have become the men they would have loved to marry. Bennie, at least you can stay at home and take care of the kids and do other things, some women dare not do that with their own hubby. Nowadays, these men won't mind being the stay at home person and have the wife work. You're damn skippy that if I work as much as you work you better be ready to take the trash out or do other things around the house while i'm cooking and dare not sit in front of the TV relaxing while I stress out taking care of a man and children, if any. Men have changed seriously, I look at my friends and wonder if I should remain single or not 'cos you never know what you are going to get.

I'm kinda on the same side with the other guy that said marrying someone of a different culture is not the same as marrying someone from the same culture. My personaly belief sha, it depends on your preference. I used to date out of culture or race and I just couldn't handle it. To me, it was as if I was depriving myself of something then I want a chance to be able to speak my language with my partner and not worry about speaking english or whatever for the rest of my life. See, preferences. The dude might have a reason why he said what he said but you came down too hard on him.

Good luck to you Bennie. I might need you to do some writing for me if you don't mind.

Bennie Droese December 18, 2006 - 4:31 pm

To poster #16 (aka Married Naija Man)

You said "To be frank, i stopped reading your rambles once at this junction "The African male does not view the African female as an equal" Really? So, how come you were able to regurgitate the following sentences "I wanted a man that would lift me up rather than tear me down. I envisioned a man that would always inspire and challenge me to break new grounds or remind me that I should never let the fear of striking out hold me back; I wanted a man that could always make me beam instead of frowning…"from the last two paragraphs of my article? For future references, a sentence tucked in between two quotations translates to "I am not the source" Dont you realize that when you take a sentence out of context, you completely miss the punch line? "The African male does not view the African female as an equal" was followed by "Why should he? Does anyone really believe that men and women are equalS? Is this why men are physically stronger, and only women are capable of giving birth?" You are entitled to your opinion in spite of its irrelevance to my story. I am glad that poster #4 who said "Thank you for your article. Yes WOMEN AND MEN ARE NOT EQUAL we all have separate roles" CARES and understood what I was saying.

Thank you for your two cents and have a great life!

Tayo Odebode December 18, 2006 - 4:00 pm

Just thoroughly enjoyed the article. Very interesting. Wish you and your entire family all the best in the coming year.

Anonymous December 18, 2006 - 2:04 pm

Benedicta Onyero Droese,

First off, your need for justification or should i say acceptance is quite comical.To be frank, i stopped reading your rambles once at this junction "The African male does not view the African female as an equal." Why should he? Does anyone really believe that men and women are equals? Ironic…

In fairness – my question to you is this, exactly was/is the motive behind this final write-up if the original was to contrast a "naija man and an oyinbo man"?

A few things jumped out at me from your article and couldnt but touch on those:

I knew exactly the type of man I didn't want as a husband and father to my children. What I wanted was a man that was considerate, civil, light-hearted, witty, easy going and devoted to me – Clear indication of the type of man your father was/is.. Touche…

(Keep in mind the keyword here is MAN).

I wanted a man that would lift me up rather than tear me down. I envisioned a man that would always inspire and challenge me to break new grounds or remind me that I should "never let the fear of striking out hold me back." I wanted a man that could always make me beam instead of frowning…

Another evidence you wanted anything or something other than what you saw in your father/uncles or the male composite of household you grew up in..

Lady, you made your choice and am sure there are quite a few people that could care less… Hope you get to read this…

Married Naija Man…

Ayda December 17, 2006 - 9:48 pm

Great article, nice family and boy he is fine! I totally agree with you sista, "life is too short to settle for less". Enough said on that…13 years and pushing. Many more years o jare!

Best Osema Azuka --Ibegbulem December 16, 2006 - 11:57 am

This is a terrific article that needs and commends international recognition based on the ideas and facts. Every Niaja man and woman coupled with every Oyibo man and woman should avail themselves of the opportunity of reading this challenging article and decide for themselves where they are coming from and where they are headed to.Thanks for such an inspiring article.I love you Sis.

Bennie Droese December 15, 2006 - 5:46 am


Thank you for your wonderfully introspective comments. They were enlightening, full of wisdom and reflected an open mindedness that comes from experience, the acceptance of all creatures as Gods creation and an attitude of "LIVE AND LET LIVE."

In retrospect, I may have whacked Goodman on the head a bit harder than necessary in my attempt to make a point or two. For that I apologize. However, I stand behind every single alphabet in my response to his commentary. As my husband mentioned in my piece, and as you eloquently pinpointed, Nigerian men have a lot of good qualities; perhaps I shall focus on that angle in a future write-up.

Once again, thank you!

Chi December 14, 2006 - 4:54 pm


You are very kind for sharing your story. You have a really wonderful family. Your husband is lucky to have found you and you're equally lucky to have found a person like him.

Your response to Mr. Goodman was not very charitable. He might not be the most sensitive man on earth, but he does have a right to speak his mind.

I believe an update to your writing would recognize that Nigerian men – more than men from other places – on average, are very open minded judging from the average response you got on your contribution. I wonder what responses your husband would get if he put a similar story up for a majority American or dare I say Caucasian audience.

Ours is a diverse society in large scale transition. Whereas our traditional structures are under immense and destructive pressure from a larger global society, we still manage to hold it firmly together.

Although a majority of Nigerian families are under unimaginable economic trauma – especially the Nigerian man who has to cater not just for his immediate family, but also for members of his extended family, he still manages to hold it together. The same thing goes for our women who are contributing in increasing proportions to the economic well-being of our families.

Kudos to Nigerians (men and women) On the balance, we are very open minded, hard working and loving people. Put under the same conditions and pressures, I dare say the Nigerian would shine way above any other race of people. At least, that is my humble opinion. Again, thanks for sharing you beautiful family with us.

Chiddy December 14, 2006 - 1:12 pm

Nice one,Benedicta.

Emm,does John have a brother?I might take my chance at love,again.

Uzo December 11, 2006 - 12:34 pm

Amen sister! Amen!

Nne, whatever works for you. As long as you are happy, that is all that matters.I'll rather be with an oyinbo that loves and treats me right than be with a monster that shares the same culture with me.

J December 11, 2006 - 1:51 am

I'm a Nigerian man, and i see nothing wrong with Nigerian women dating or marrying non-Nigerians. Globalization is inevitable and this whole concept of race is bound to dissapear. Perhaps i am in favor of Nigerian women marrying non-Nigerian men because i personally prefer non-nigerian women and would rather not feel guilty for being a sellout if i know nigerian girls do the same? By non-nigerian am i referring to white?

:P:P take this as a kid's review, because i will be 18 in a couple of days.

DeLaine December 10, 2006 - 12:43 pm

Interesting write up.

Asuquo Ema December 9, 2006 - 11:00 pm

I enjoyed your article and I admire your frankness when you talked about your husband and how both of you relate to each other. No man is perfect – Nigerian men or other men of other nationalities or races. It doesn't matter who one gets married to as long as both spouses are happy and content with each other.

I have a comment for Goodman. What do you mean when you say that the joy isn't the same with people who marry interracially or interculturally except if they were raised abroad? I think that was a very narrow minded and totally ignorant comment. If that is the case please explain to me why so many Nigerian men come abroad and marry caucasian and other non-nigerian women.

My Nigerian father came to the United States over forty years ago and met my Ugandan mother. After they finished school they went back to Nigeria together and their marriage was a success. So many Nigerian men marry foreign wives and even take them back home and most of the marriages are a success. There is no guarantee that just because one marries from within his or her own race or tribe that the marriage is going to work out. When we start to see people as "People" and not in the context of tribal origins or races then I think this world will be a much better place.

Amen to that!!!!!

Bennie Droese December 9, 2006 - 4:16 pm

To Goodman,

First, let me suggest that you go back and read my article again. Then repost verbatim where I generalized Naija men for not helping their better half with domestic work. What part of one of the major complaints some of my friends have about their husbands (Nigerians) is their unwillingness to lift a finger to help out around the house even it they both hold full time jobs did you not understand? So youre a Naija man who occasionally cooks and cleans for your family-GOOD FOR YOU! Or would you like me to reward you with a home baked chocolate chip cookie? You have totally misconstrued the focus of my piece and its a shame that you were not able to grasp the big picture. You said, The excitement and joy you get from been married to someone from your culture is not the same with inter race or culture except you born and race in abroad Let me ask you, how would you know? Is this why theres currently an alarming rate of divorce within some of the Nigerian communities in America? May I recommend one of Sabellas series African marriages as business ventures as a tutorial? If you honestly believe that being married to someone from a similar cultural background automatically guarantees joy and excitement in any marriage, I wont argue with you. How does one rationalize with someone with delusional ideologies? You want me to share the negative aspects of being in an interracial marriage? I have nothing negative to say because my relationship suits me. You want me to tell you that my husband is perfect because he is a white man? He is not, and I never alluded to that in my article. We all have shortcomings (men and women) and my husband even said, No man is perfect? somewhere between the last three paragraphs of my article. Yes, he burps and farts like a sailor sometimes dont you? I do sometimes. But you know what, in the grand scheme of things, thats a small price to pay for the type of relationship we have. He is not a Nigerian. He is not perfect, but he is just perfect for me and I feel blessed!

Have a great life!

Goodman December 9, 2006 - 9:55 am

I disagree with your opinion for generalizing Naija men for not helping their better half with domestic work. I am a naija man who occasionally make dinner for my family and also do help in cleaning the house. The only thing I do not like is my wife to tell me to clean because is my tune. There are lots of white men out there who can not cook egg and their wife have to do everything yet they live together in peace. The excitement and joy you get from been married to someone from your culture is not the same with inter race or culture except you born and race in abroad. Why not share the negative side with us sister?

Anonymous December 9, 2006 - 4:56 am

Thank you for your article. Yes women and men are not equal we all have separate roles. I think there's nothing wrong in taking care of your husband. He respects you for yourself. What a wonderful job you've done.

Anonymous December 8, 2006 - 6:45 pm

Love this! Thanks so much for sharing some of your life with us. Just reading this, I have an almost vivid idea of who you and your husband are. You are so lucky and he is fiiine! Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family as well!

Anonymous December 8, 2006 - 5:34 pm

Excellent write-up.

Rosie December 8, 2006 - 4:50 pm

AAwwwww, you've got the cutest family! Thanks for sharing this with women like me that have to grapple with these kinds of choices.


Leave a Comment