The Problem with African Men

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

I speak of the African male in the Diasporas. I speak of men, not individually, but collectively. I have known men who are extraordinary both in their private and public lives. But today, I make no distinction, and instead have as the focus of my treatise the general male population in the Diasporas. There are no mysteries surrounding men. There is nothing that can’t be explained about men. But alas, in their relationship with women and with fellow men, men tend to convey and or project a godlike picture. Their attitude and disposition are quite different. For men, life is all about power and a can-do-attitude; it is about “me, therefore me.” Men have an exaggerated sense of entitlement. They believe they own the world, therefore they rule the world. They make war, make peace; they build and they destroy.

It may sound nasty, archaic, regressive and even hideous. In fact it is! But collectively, men expect women to cook and clean, to raise babies and to provide sex on demand; and if the woman at home won’t “obey before complain,” the men will make a home elsewhere. No man will admit to the aforesaid; no man will admit to being provincial, uncouth, and non-western. And why should they? To admit to their primordial instinct and belief would be suicidal. A man’s world is a world of grave contradictions, a world of simmering anger, fear, uncertainty, and parchment of egos. Left alone and without guidance, men will self-immolate, will self-destruct. Men live in a bubble and are eternally self-centered. Go down history-lane and you will realize that women have been keeping men “together” and afloat long before Adam & Eve; but unfortunately women don’t know these simple facts — facts men are not about to admit to now, or ever!

It is a shame that, collectively, women have yet to realize three general facts about men: throw a man out of the house and he will go to pieces; deny him sex and will pout and pout and pout; deny him food and he will whine like a baby. To challenge a man’s mentality, disposition and worldview is akin to castrating him. It is better to kill a man than to take away his “john.” Women should know that there is an invisible rope around a man’s neck. Women just needed to know when to pull and when to let go: master the timing and you can enslave a man! But because women do not know these basic facts about men, they allow men to dominate their every existence and very essence. Women allow men to be kings not knowing that men are childlike and duplicitous — mostly devoid of ethics, morality, good sense and common sense.

African men are quick to lie and cheat and bamboozle African women. But then, lying and cheating and conniving are in their nature. Brought up to view women as objects — mostly objects of sexual desire — they have no respect for women. The African male does not view the African female as an equal. And if these men have their ways — women will be confined to the kitchens, to the maternity wards and to subservient roles. One need not look far and war to witness some of the atrocities the African men commit against African women. Aren’t these the same women who are the bedrock of the society, the pillars of the family? Men rely on women for everything. They cry on the shoulders of women, rely on the advice of women and when they fall on hard times, these women will take them in. And more often than not, these women become the only anchor in a sea of turbulence. Yet, how do men repay women?

To repay these women, they go back home to the hills and mountains and waterways of Nigeria to bring back to the U.S supposed virgins who are thought to be of good moral character. These men go back to the rural areas of Tanzania, Zambia and Lesotho, and Ghana and bring back to the U.S “nice, religious girl with good family background.” For the vast majority of these African men the aim is to bring back a girl who is like clay, a girl they can mold in a desired image. Good gracious, after years and years of being the rock, of being a steady and reliable friend and partner, the African women (in the U.S) get dumped unceremoniously in preference for the “innocenty.” How sad!

It is beyond ones wit why after all these years women have yet to figure men out. Year after year, men have been abusing and disrespecting women. Year after year, men have been lording over women and in the process have taken away or crushed their rights and dignity. There are women who are driven to mental penury after their encounter with these men. In the last couple of years, one has noticed a new phenomenon: in a country where polygamy is illegal, the Africans have found a way to “marry” more than one wife. From Maryland to Texas, from New York to Los Angeles, there are African men who are raising children in two or more households. (I don’t mean divorced household, but households of unofficial wives where the man “comes and go” as he wishes.) The women are trapped. Too tired and beaten to start afresh and so have accepted their lot in life.

Africans, and especially Nigerians, are making a mockery of life. They are making a mockery of everything decent. Today, it is difficult being a Nigerian. To admit to being a Nigerian, within certain circles, is to invite ridicule, scorn and suspicion. Known for their big cars, big houses, big ego, pipedreams, and big mouth, Nigerians have become the poster boy for all manner of illegalities. And when these men return to their villages in the East, West or Southern Nigeria (on vacation), they paint a rosy picture of life in North America and elsewhere. Suddenly, dope dealers become pharmacists; insurance and real estate crooks become consultants; CNAs become registered nurses and medical doctors; janitors become big city building inspectors; and cab drivers become information technologists.

And then there are the international business men who are always waiting for containers that never makes it to the Port of Houston, Miami, Seattle or wherever! When they are not lying to the women in their lives, they are lying to the women they are about to snag. When they are not lying to their brothers and sisters, they are lying to their parents. But mostly, they lie to themselves so much so that most are not even aware they are lying. They have lost their moral compass. They have lost touch with reality.

Compared to most countries in the world, America is a wonderland. It is a paradise. It is also a very frustrating country. Her opportunities are also slightly exaggerated. With all the talks about freedom and liberty, it is also, in many ways, a police state. It is a country where the lazy and the feeble-hearted easily get shoved to the margin of society. Hard work does not guarantee success. Education does not guarantee success. Contacts do not guarantee success. Luck does not guarantee success. And at the same time one is doomed without any of the imperatives.

More often than not, one needs the combination of all four to be a success. But Africans, Nigerians especially, have found ways to circumvent the system. Nigerians, among Africans, are about the only group of people who can show up in America today, and within 24-months drive Mercedes Benz, own a 2-car garage home in an exclusive or gated community, have a collection of suits and shoes and can afford to throw parties week after week after week. Yet, other Nigerians will not question the source of the ill-gotten wealth.

Not only do we misuse and abuse our women, we also corrupt, abuse and misuse the communities we live in. We are doing the same things we did back in our own continent (and respective countries). We have become a community that lacks moral sensibility; a community without scruples. Excessive greed and a complete disregard for the law is now part of our culture at home and in the Diaspora.

For the great majority of Africans in the Diaspora, we cannot go back home. Some are economic refugees, while others are shame-induced refugees. We cannot go back to a continent that does not know what do with us (or we with her). We cannot go back to a continent that is fast becoming a strange land to most of us. Consequently, we stay away and hope — we hope that someday we will return home. But unfortunately, the vast majority will never be able to call Africa home again, save in nationalistic sense. If our forefathers were involuntarily sold into slavery, we have voluntarily sold ourselves into slavery.

Sadly too is the fact that for the vast majority of Africans in the United States and elsewhere outside of the continent, our children cannot speak our language. They know almost nothing about our people, land and culture. For them, the continent is a distant and far away land just as it is fast becoming a distant and far away land for most of us.
Norman, Oklahoma 73072

You may also like


Geisha April 28, 2007 - 11:56 pm

This article I needed to read before my last relationship! Though I know this does not apply to all Nigerians, it definitley does apply for my ex and some he exposed me to. He claims it's "culture". Well, if that's true culture and then claims that black americans don't have any, keep it . I'm glad I lost it!

C. Ajuwa November 13, 2006 - 1:14 pm

Excellent article. Straight to the point. The truth hurts but it has to be told.

Anonymous March 30, 2006 - 8:11 am

Loved it very much hope you get some help!

Anonymous December 28, 2005 - 3:51 pm

as simple as the truth

Anonymous December 24, 2005 - 6:45 pm

After reading this article I still do not see the point you are trying to make. Is it the wickedness of men, the stupidity of women, the slavery of Africans in diaspora or the general corruption of Nigerian(amongst Africans, as u have included). Needless to say, the article was not well thought or well presented. As for African men being vile, from your name I gather you are Nigerian yet you kept referring to African men as 'they'. Are we to take it you exclude yourself from the collection of men you speak of Are you different then

As a 'Nigerian woman I found parts this article condescending because by generalising men you have also generalised women.You do not only insinuate that we are stupid you also assume to tell us who we are and what we are actually good for.You have sat to judge these women you speak of and decided that 'you' who do not know their circumstance or predicament can lecture them on how to live their lives and 'control' their husbands.

So after reading this article of yours I ask you, as a woman, should I applaud you for taking my side and detailing the inexcusable acts of many a Nigerian men Should I some how feel gratitude that finally, a Nigerian man feels my pain and has taken it upon himself to speak for me Or what exactly was the intent of this article

Anonymous September 26, 2005 - 9:53 pm

Yes the truth does hurt but what is the next step Admitting to a problem is one thing doing something about it is another. Hey! Here is a noble idea – Honesty (with one's self other). When you see your brother/fellow mate mistreating someone (woman or man) don't look the other way. Confront this individual and tell him what he is doing wrong. So what if his friends call you a pussy – you would have done the right thing. That person maynot respond straight away but he'll remebmer the rod of correction after he has fallen into the depts of dispare.

Anonymous September 19, 2005 - 7:51 am

to say this articule lacks focus is to say the least! and to take on nigerians like that shows how low the author can think very unfair judgement. nigerians marry 234 or even more wives what about the americans that sleep with just anything. and y men it takes 2 to play the game of cheating. most of those women know the man is with sum1 else but hope to get him on their side and this is independent of tribe color or even race it is just women wishful thinking. i guess u be more frank with yourself and u will easily find out that the truth is out there. we have made a mess of our world by looking for who to blame. if u havent touched the men u are condeming positive then SHUT UP! i am a nigerian and a VERY PROUD ONE AT THAT! just for the record the name is Peter Ikiriko

Rosie September 9, 2005 - 5:56 pm

If you watch the movie "Cold Mountain" starring Renee Zellweger you'll come across a scene where she says "men have the power to make the weather. After they make the weather they stand under the storm and say 'shit its raining.'" True about men. Thank God they will be extinct in about a thousand years.

Anonymous September 6, 2005 - 10:48 am

You certainly nailed it I hope enough men read this article.

Anonymous August 2, 2005 - 10:20 am

I think the world can not be broken into 2just as the author has tried to separate the doings of men and that of women. Have we forgotten that both male and female children are raised mostly by women and the mother act basically on the societal values and tradition. Thus we should not blame man or woman we should review our societal values. Anike.

Anonymous May 25, 2005 - 12:45 pm

wow this is a bitter brother!!

Anonymous May 15, 2005 - 7:53 pm

Dear nike there is nothing to "fix" there are good men as well as bad men, find the good men and the problem is solved and as for the author i think he blew the article out of propotion.

Reply May 3, 2005 - 3:03 pm

Great article, how do “we” fix the problem though?

Reply May 3, 2005 - 2:04 pm

You have made your point.Pray,as nigerians have some nice qualities,why not project these good qualities with the same zeal with which you have done this one?

MrsKenna May 3, 2005 - 2:00 pm

“But then, lying and cheating and conniving are in their nature.” That quote is a male’s copout for bad behavior!!! The article is rather interesting. As a woman, I don’t know any woman that cannot read between the lines. Are Nigerians as bad as you say they are? WOW???

Obi O. May 3, 2005 - 12:11 pm

The commentator below me wrote that this “article is too exaggerated to be taken seriously” I agree one hundred percent. It lacks focus too.

chas May 3, 2005 - 11:20 am

This Article is too exaggerated to be taken seriously. Women are not as helpless and uneducated as you project them, they know men’s weakness more than you and the use it to their advantage. Most Men are not as vile as you project them. The negativity in this Article is excessive. Please tone it down. The fact is that majority of people, including Nigerians, leave their lives in a norturing and positive enviroment.

Lastly, “what the minority does cannot be justified for the majority”.

Precious May 3, 2005 - 11:15 am

thumps up……..! i give it up to u,true talk.i’m so impressed i’m not d only one who has this same notion. May God help us……..Naijas

Okon May 3, 2005 - 10:14 am

Oh, how many wives or girlfriends do you have? Be honest…as naijas lie too much.

Okon May 3, 2005 - 10:14 am

Man….you nailed it on the head. Great article. You piece on Nigerians marrying two or three wives is very true. I was shocked to find out several married naijas here have wives in Europe and Nigeria. Na wah for their headaches.

Anonymous April 24, 2005 - 10:35 pm

Excellent article. May God bless your intellectuals.You nailed the truth on the head


Leave a Comment