The Problem with Single African Women

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

This is a reaction to Annie Brisibe-Porbeni’s essay: “In Search of Mr. Right or Wrong in Diaspora: The Plight of the Young Black African Woman” The article dwells on the predicament single, educated, intelligent and fun-loving Black women of African origin face in North America — when it comes to the issue of dating and marriage. These women’s dilemma, distress and anguish are captured in the following excerpts:

“…How many of you have boyfriends, husbands or even seeing someone right now with the possibility of a serious commitment…?”

“…Living abroad has put us in a box where men are concerned. You are forced because of lack of choices and a thin pool of educated, descent, okay looking and well mannered young Black men to now accept anything that looks your way…It’s even harder finding an African male of your choice because the ones that under normal circumstances you won’t even look at are running after White women. Even when you give them a chance to get close they treat you like you should be happy to have them…”

“…I worry that I may never find a Mr. Right or Wrong. I can’t date an Asian, a Caucasian, or even someone from the Middle East my parents will kill me… it’s not an option; cultures, dealing with racism, how to integrate into their world or them mine…there are too many issues to deal with. I am not ready for that. It’s hard alone being a Black woman in this society…”

In this rejoinder, I make two interrelated arguments: that generally speaking, African women in the Diasporas spends eternity waiting and or searching for Mr. Perfect — when human perfection is an illusion; and that a second group allows cultural considerations to influence their lives. As humane as the African culture is, certain aspects of it are energy sapping and regressive; therefore, these women should not subject themselves to its demands.

Most African women (in the Diasporas) put themselves in the situation in which they find themselves by virtue of their supercilious attitude. Most can’t even tell what it is they want and what they want in a man and in a relationship. They are confused and can’t decide whether they are Africans or are “non-Africans” living in the West. These women want to be co-captains, coequals and at the same time quote Oprahisms or threaten you with the intervention of the social service or the police if you tell them to behave like a wife. No man in his right mind will go near such a woman — unless by mistake, he was drunk or was desperate for something!

Most of these women spend a great deal of their valuable time searching for Mr. Right. Sometimes, what a woman need is “Mr. OK,” and not “Mr. Right” or “Mr. Perfect;” and so they become blind or too engrossed with their trivial requirements — so much so that they wouldn’t recognize Mr. Right even if he came along. Such women come to their senses only when it is too late. This gives rise to the phenomenon of women complaining: “There are no good men around…” Oops, ladies, he was right there all along but was too shallow to recognize a good thing!

Every Nigerian man I know would rather marry a Nigerian woman. The same can be said of all the African men that I know. But sadly — and this is especially so in the last decade or so — these women want to know the type of car one drives, whether one lives in a home with a 2-car-garage or in an apartment, ones salary and investments and so on and so forth. They want men with exotic cars, Armani suits, Gucci watch, Italian-snake shoes and a cellar full of French wines. They want a ready-made man — never a struggling man with potentials who is decent, loving, and morally and ethically upright.

The educated African women — the PhD holders, the lawyers, medical doctors, masters of this and masters of that and their likes are among the snootiest. These same women complain about Black men going after White women! The sad truth is that, more often than not, the White women are ready to “work with you,” but not so for the vast majority (of a small number of African women). And then they wonder why more and more Black men are ensconced with non-African women? Their demands have, in some cases, driven feeble-hearted African men to commit the unthinkable. Today, especially in places like Houston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Los Angeles, we have a segment of Nigerian men selling their soul to meet the demands of these unscrupulous and greedy women.

The fault is not our women’s alone. Good gracious, Lord knows that some African men can be and are devilish, conniving, lying and cheating bastards who will take women for the ride and, if need be, take them to the cleaners in a heartbeat. Besides, some of these men would commit illegalities even without the women asking. These men live to please women’s narcissism. Still, I don’t feel sorry for most women who complain about the lack of “good men” for relationships or marriage. My attitude is that of indifference. And in any case, they don’t need my sympathy!

As for some of the women in Annie Brisibe-Porbeni’s essay, I wonder how many men they shunned, dismissed, laughed at and even “spit” at? I wonder. A woman can’t be that smart, funny, educated, sassy, spunky and fun loving and not have flock of men after her. But unfortunately, we have a small group of women (not necessarily Annie’s subjects) who, once they attain certain status get greedy and dream pipedreams — waiting for Mr. Perfect to sweep them off their feet.

Yes, it is true that as Africans, marriage is highly rated and the unmarried women are generally frowned upon. But the women Annie Brisibe-Porbeni wrote about live in North America. These are educated women; these are women who probably believe in the equality of both sexes. These are women who, at the very least, have spent an upward of five years in the West. Therefore, they should know, or at the very least, should have known that as humanistic and benevolent as the African culture is, it is also a culture that can be oppressive, relegates women to inferior and painful positions.

Any critical observer of women knows that, in most cases, women are women’s worst enemies. Most of the time, it is women who are goading fellow women to get married and have children long before their time or long before they are ready and capable. In this day and age, do women really need a man, a ring, partner and the title, Mrs., to feel complete, happy and blissful? I don’t think so. I don’t because one need not be married to be happy. One need not be married to have children. One need not be married to feel accomplished. One need not be married to have a wonderful life.

To feel otherwise is to stunt ones growth, happiness and sense of fulfillment. African women should stop worrying about what society thinks or feels about them in terms of their marital status. They don’t need men to feel complete! And for those who must worry, well, they should stop searching for Mr. Perfect or Mr. Readymade. African women should cultivate their own gardens instead of waiting to be fed; plant their own flowers instead of waiting for men to bring them roses. You are capable; you illuminate the world and give joy to humanity. Be you…
Norman, Oklahoma

You may also like


Bert Lundblad June 29, 2010 - 7:23 pm

So with almost 7 000000000 humans on earth and a wasted nature and dying wildlife, we need to procreate? At the time of the writing of the bible we were maybe 1 billion!

You dont even have to be married for to procreate! If a place lack humans , be sure babies would be made with or without marriage, or if the world should be fearing a huge decrease in population, measures would be taken. So it has to be about “blood s thicker than water”

Then were talking about ME and MY, MY race; MY culture, My genes

Isnt that what maggots, pigs, birds and fishes “think”

And among those creatures, can we speak of love?

Animals “marry” for procreation, and childsupport. But they dont “love”!

So lets leave the oldfashion traditions behind. And look at love.

Because love s the only reason for to marry!

Bert Lundblad June 29, 2010 - 6:56 pm

why do you have to identify yourself as africans. Be just universal as humans! If you have to chose between being traditional knowing it doesnt feels right, or being untraditional and finding yourself, would you stick with the “african ” thing? Why? In an enlightened world you can choose, you can convert, you can even change gender!

How about that?

Jennifer June 8, 2008 - 7:23 pm

I know african american men date white women or light skin women because the closer to “african” you look the uglier you are to them. the closest to looking white you are the prettier you are considered to be to african american men.

Lati July 23, 2007 - 1:59 pm

I liked the article. Most of the points make sense, but I disagree with some of the opinions made.

As for Comments #3, #10, and #19, I TOTALLY DISAGREE. Maybe I feel that way because I am a lady with Nigerian parents who was born and raised in America, I believe that a woman doesn't have to get married or have children to be happy. Living your life to serve God and help others can also be fulfilling. That is one sad thing about the Nigerian culture (and some others) that I have always despised. Their obsession with women to “get married” and “settle down” is RIDICULOUS. The fact that a woman is less of a woman if she is not married is so STUPID. If a man doesn’t marry, he doesn’t have to face the same crap…

I can't believe all that NONSENSE in comment #3 about “whether women, not simply African women, be it educated or not, need a Man for fulfillment…” and "no amount of education or money could ever buy a woman happiness when everyday she goes back to her house alone…one day, she is going to look for somebody to sleep with…" Money or education can’t buy happiness, but neither can a marriage. There are some married women that are very unhappy too (and who would probably be happier if they weren’t. To me, that sounds so SELFISH; that a woman just live her life to "Get a man." That isn't what life is all about. I'm only in my 20s, but I know that much.

Another invalid (and misspelled) statement from Comment #10 was: "The diginity respect prestiege of a woman is her "responsible" husband and visa-viz." Can’t you get your dignity and respect from living a good life and having a good character? Why do you need to marry to have this? Every woman, DOES NOT need a man and vice versa. Also, Africans will never be satisfied, because even if a woman gets married, if she can’t have any children she is still looked upon negatively.

Comment #19 doesn’t make any sense at all to me. Basically, what I get out of it is that the sole purpose of an African is to marry and pop out children (even if they don’t have the means to support them…). How is it “un-African and anti-family” to not get married or have kids? Why can’t it un-African to kill people and scam foreigners, spread AIDS, or scam foreigners out of their $? There are thousands of orphans in Africa (and elsewhere) who don’t even have anyone to care for them, so would it be wrong if a woman decided to help care for one of them instead of have children on her own? I don’t think so.

There are so many other things to do in life than sit there and hunt/search for a spouse. If it is in God’s plan that someone should marry, they will. If it is not, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with that person. God may have something better planned for them. I know that the idea of a marriage and a family is ingrained into the minds and spirits of some people, but that is not the case for EVERY woman. Some women need to drop some of these notions and concentrate on more important things in life than pursuing men.

Chris July 18, 2007 - 11:10 pm

I'm an African women in my mid twenties. I'm looking for some answers and understanding of African men's attitude towards single African women base on some personal experiences. This helped me get some answers.

Debra B. Pearson June 20, 2007 - 12:02 am

With great respect African Brothers! I am an African American woman who is appalled by the African brother's attitudes toward women. African Brothers why are you so promiscuous? Africa is one of the sickest and weakest continents on the face of the earth; even in light of all of the natural resources that are at its disposal. Why? Why is AIDS threatening to annihilate half of African humanity? The reason is largely due to the pervasive attitudes of African men regarding multiple partners and a basic disrespect toward African women and women in general. Aids is spread via a lack of discipline and a lack of respect for sexual energy. African men are nortoriously promiscuous, spreading and promoting suffering and pestilence all over the continent. Multiple partners are needed in the animal kingdom to insure that alpha males propagate the animal species. However, in this era of human evolution, there are no population issues. So why do so many African men think they have an entitlement to multiple sexual partners. Brothers, I feel that this issue alone has brought about the destruction of the Continent of Africa. Your women are hateful and sad because of your lack of discipline. One man, one woman should become the mantra of Africa. Attitudes need to change African brothers. Honor and respect your women as Divine and not as conquests and gratifications for your male egos.

Anonymous May 20, 2007 - 11:34 am


Statistics show that the AFRICAN BORN woman is 5 times more likely to marry a White american man than her native born African American Peers.

That percentage is expected to quadruple over the next 25 years.

I wondered why, but now after reading ya emm emm almost yeye article… I know why…

ken March 6, 2007 - 11:34 am

Interesting article I might say. It's quite funny that most of my thought's were in your article except for this part. The major reason that African women can get a good Nigerian man is because of their attitude. They come here to America and act like their shit don't stink when they know where they are coming from. Instead of them to work with a man, they want a man to take care of them. We African men takes good care of women when they are obedient, loyal and respectful and not gold digging.

Anonymous February 25, 2006 - 7:12 pm

The author has some interesting thoughts, however, the negativis towards black women isn't unique. I was married for 11 years to a Filapina. She was beautiful, shy, and unspoiled when I firsy married her. When she came to America, things gradually changed. SUV's, 2 car garages, plentiful jobs. To her her, the streets were paved with gold. That changes anyone from wherever.

Christopher September 14, 2005 - 1:56 pm

I dont have a comment I have a question. Where can I met a TRUE Nigerian woman that has not become westernize. That has not allow the American way of thinking cause her to lose put-aside or just plain forget her culture and customs. Can any one tell me. I'm dying to know!!!!

Anonymous September 12, 2005 - 4:39 am

My special thanks to comment7 and 14. They just said it all. The entire article is a very interesting onebut I have some issues with the writer about his stance in his paragraph 9. I think if you call yourself a true bye-product of our rich African culture and tradition you should have found this particular paragragh nine going contrary to our cultural expectation. The diginity respect prestiege of a woman is her "responsible" husband and visa-viz. If you are a man reaching the zenith of your adulthood without married your words in your village or kinship meeting is a word from an irresponsible bachelor. Both men and women need each other for procreation and otherwise. It is encampsulated in the bible and it is culturally demanded. "Everywoman needs a man"(Yvone Chaka Chaka). You might have it all as a woman but believe or not a single tree can't make a forest.

Anonymous September 5, 2005 - 1:03 pm

During the past few years I have taken serious time to reevaluate my life. I am an educated family oriented well traveled and career driven woman who loves everything life has to offer. I have given the I'm trying to make it hang and there because I have potential man a chance. At the same time I have certain expectations. Why am I considerred to be mean and intolerable because I want the absolute best for myself There are men many many men who expect women to take care of them while they are trying to find the meaning of life. There are men who feel that you should be happy to have them because Hispanic and white women are standing in line waiting for someone they can take care of. Women like me who are not interested in sharing men the haves nor the have nots are down for the count every time partly because these women make everything easy for them. Then AFRICAN AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN you raise your sons as the heads of your households. You give them the brunt of your responsiblility. You teah them how to be baby daddies by being baby mamas. You do not teach them to work go to school be entrenprenuers raise families save money etc. but you teach them that there is no woman out there good enough for them. You want them to find women with "good hair." These are the things on which you focus. Then when they come to us they are a mess. Women are ruining men. We accept their lame excuses for their devious actions. We say things like "let a man be a man" "men are dogs by nature" and "as long as he comes to me at the end of the day he can do whatever he wants to do in the streets." This is a very scary time for the African family. At the same time African women limit themselves to African and African-American men while African men totally disclude us altogether. Until we all step up and take responsiblity for what is going on we are going to find ourselves in an even more saddening situation. As for me I am not looking or waiting for anyone. I am living my life in hopes that I will be married and have children. If this is not my fate I am okay with it.

Reader from UK August 27, 2005 - 7:46 pm

It appears the write's views it inappropriate for a single woman who has so far in her struggling life earned an 'enviable'status to choose a male partner who she feels 'comfortable' settling with.

Would one purposely choose a mate whose implied deposition suggests unacceptance of one's achievement Can peace ever be festered in such an assumed union

Would it not be a reason for forming an intimate relationship to co-exist sybiotically How feasible is that if there is no balance in comprehension of each other's being. Is there any point in suffering a mate

I'll forever advocate individuals who promote peaceful lives by opting for the 'choose right for peace sake' policy even if they risk finding no suitable partners.

Anonymous August 9, 2005 - 12:02 pm

You're right! It's the same here in Nigeria.

Olufemi Ogundipe

Anonymous July 6, 2005 - 2:21 am

I don't know why I even bother to comment on this article. The author is obviously a total misogynist who pretends to uphold Nigeria women, but in reality, hates all women. Most Women know they do not need to marry a man to make them whole (especially not a Nigerian man). Why buy the pig when you can get a little sausage now & then? – Get a clue & some therapy too!

A. Akinsanya

Anonymous June 30, 2005 - 11:45 am

My experience of Nigerian women in general is not a good one. i am a white woman living in london and have dated nigerian men since i was 16. A couple of my best female friends live now in nigeria, but apart from them i find that nigerian women see white women as a compeition. they are rude and behave very badly infront of us, i have even had some of my nigerian male friends stick up for me against a nigerian girl because they are so out of order and have their backs up without even knowing me. As far as i am concerned i am not 'stealing your men' they dont actually belong to you…you are welcome to date whom ever you like and so am i. I will not be rude if you date a white, Asian or black man so why should you be like this to me?

everyone is entitled to date who they want and to be cause problems makes racism stand out.

I think that in general black women are causing black men to walk away because they cant be bothered to deal with the hassle of dating a black woman…

Anonymous June 12, 2005 - 12:12 pm

I am an American Black man that is very interested and involved with a Nigerian woman who is in Lagos. I am madly in love with this woman. The haradest thing us right now is that we are miles awayfrom each other. In my heart of hearts I know that she wants to be here with me but I have had some finacial reversals and it is hard to carry on a long distance relasionship.However,sometimes meeting her needs is a struggle because i may not be able to send her what I want or what she needs to meet her fincial needs,because she is a business woman. But I say to man who are interested in Nigerian women to just hang in there there are wonderfulwomen who will love you beyond your wildest dreams

Anonymous May 14, 2005 - 11:00 pm

well. I almost agreed with you completely because I am one of those african women who is not looking for a "Mr. Perfect" or "Readymade Sir"…But then you went on to misunderstand completely whether women, not simply African women, be it educated or not, need a Man for fulfilment…OF COURSE!! OF COURSE!! EVERY WOMAN needs a father for their children…nobody is gonna sit in the house by themselves and be happy that "I do not need a ring or husband to raise the kid. I gat monnie and a PhD"…there is NO woman in thsi world who can tell you that is true…no amount of education or money could ever buy a woman happiness when everyday she goes back to her house alone…one day, she is going to look for somebody to sleep with…But she would prefer that somebody is there for-ever!!! and for some of us who never dated nobody until we came to the US…and we have never even dated African men but black men, it is even difficult how we insert ourselves into our own societies when we go to predominantly white colleges where we do not even want to date white men…it is not a cultural thing for me…I just want a man who will remember I am his queen…and part of me wants to find that man who would remember that I have some biological obligation over and above his of 9 months each year, so that he can remember to treat me like a queen…and that's why I love my black/african men

Anonymous May 10, 2005 - 4:13 pm

You are a SEXIST! No doubt about that. You have to know that different people have different priorities. In as much as SOME women want to marry successful people for different reasons – selfish or geniune. The men are not left out either. There is this guy that I know that has no college education what so ever. He works 2 full time jobs and I thought he is comfortable, in that he pays his bills. Do you know that when he wanted to marry, he was scouting for a registered nurse for a wife. He wasn't successful here, so he went to Nigeria and actually camped outside a hospital to find his future wife! That actually worked. Now tell me, did he marry this woman because he loved her or because of her profession and her pay check?

If he was interested in a nurse's salary, why didn't he study nursing himself.

Sorry to say this but your writing demonstrates the insecurities that you and other Nigerian men have. They go back home to marry because they can't measure up to their female counterparts here.

Uche May 3, 2005 - 5:12 pm

One has to ask themselves, if I keep attracting superficial and materialstic women, what is it about me that is attracting such women? Could it perhaps be that you too are superficial and materialistic? Don’t be surprised that you attract such women, if your opening lines include how much money you make or what kind of car you drive. If you continue with equating your worth with what you posess, you will attract people who think similarly. No matter what continent

Samuel May 3, 2005 - 5:11 pm

i agree with you.That women wants to know how fat your bank account is,how polished is your apartment.Its sad and pathetic cos thats exactly what is obtainable back home in Nigeria…girls want to know where your father or mother works,how many of your siblings you have abroad? Anyway i just hope one day they wise up

Reply May 3, 2005 - 3:03 pm

When you have sisters in America, I’ll start listening to you. No matter how accomodating, or accepting we are of the “many” men in our pool, they always want something more, its hard to believe an intellectual like yourself would be so shallow and unsympathetic to the many sorrows your Nigerian sisters have experienced and are still experiencing at the hands of Nigerian men like yourself.

Sultan May 3, 2005 - 10:22 am

The stone that was rejected by a person is another’s foundation conerstone.

African men opt for other women as a second choice after numerous failure to get an African woman.

The complaint is an indication of the frustration to being rejected by African men.Maybe they’ll start being more aggressive in attracting a man’s attention than testing his will.

Darryl James May 3, 2005 - 10:08 am

Brother, please continue to speak, even though many of our sisters will refuse to hear you. they have been following the plan for “freedom” laid out by white women and it is contrary to their soul. Don’t believe me? Look at the evil some of them spew when they disagree with you. the best thing we can do as men is to continue to speak to the truth and face them down like the evil liars they are. That way the pure and beautiful sisters will be unashamed to be women and not harpies.

Passerby May 3, 2005 - 8:14 am

People no dey like tru word. Dem go crucify you now o.

emerald May 3, 2005 - 8:07 am

God help us with men like you.yes,it isnt wise to scout for readymade guysor gals,but isn’t it the guys who complain that treat ladies(who stood by and helped them) like scum when they finally hit “it”

Reply May 3, 2005 - 8:05 am

Thank you for hiting the nail on the head.You dont need to be married to be happy.For those who feel it is unafrican to be single,have they ever heard of culture clash?What culture do we practise in Nigeria today?

Mandingo May 3, 2005 - 8:01 am

Your take on the matrimonial predicaments of our sisters in the diaspora are o.k. But to suggest that the sisters do not (or should not) need to be in a marriage to procreate and to be happy, is un-African and anti-family. Why then are we Africans?

Okon May 3, 2005 - 7:14 am

U made some valid points though some may disagree with you. Our sisters have to be more reaching and considerate. Stay the course. Good comments.

funmi May 3, 2005 - 6:21 am

it is the world-view men like you that cause african women to run for shelter – at least the sensible self-respecting ones.

Anonymous April 22, 2005 - 7:03 am

Been able to reason in an African way and marry it beautifully with western mentality


Leave a Comment