I recently discussed the failings of Yoruba men with some Nigerian women of different age groups and generations. As I’m sure you are aware that Yoruba men have a reputation of being liars, cheaters and egotistical humans. I acknowledge that this is an over-generalisation, and I am not here to point fingers at my tribal brothers, I would simply like to discuss this issue in attempt to gain some clarity. My main question is this; “is this reputation a result of evil doers, or evil tale bearers?” If you permit, I will now continue.
About three years ago a friend said to me; ‘Dami I cannot believe he did this!’ I said to her ‘what did you expect?’ You see my friend was cheated on by her Yoruba boyfriend. They had been together for over five years and marriage was the long term goal (In her opinion). Once I made that statement, I was ashamed, I apologised and went on to console her by calling him several wicked names. Yet I knew, that no matter how many times I cussed him out, the sting of the blow would not soften. She did not see it coming, I did not see it coming, yet the innate voice within both of us said; “what did you expect?” Although we had both become indifferent to hearing tales of cheating Yoruba men, we did not actively expect it would happen to any of us. This made the reality painful and difficult to bear.
I have several tales to tell of the ‘cheating Yoruba man’, as I’m sure you all do. However, I am desperate to find statistics that say that these men are as bad as the stories tell. Have these ideas been misconstrued and propagated by those with an agenda? Folklore and modern essays complain about the Yoruba man and his love for the ‘fairer sex’. I was once advised that due to the fact that many Igbo men are Catholics, they are afraid of committing ‘mortal sins’ like adultery; but I’m not convinced. African American women are plagued with tales of the ‘cheating black men’. So is this a black man issue, as opposed to a Yoruba one?
When Maje Ayida was accused of cheating and impregnating ‘the other woman’, people began to insult Yoruba men. However, he is not a Yoruba Man. Today as I write this article I’m conflicted. You see, my friend left her boyfriend sharply, but knowing her, I know that if she was a few years older she would have overlooked it as a common misdemeanour or ‘a non-event’ and I may have never heard of it. As I reconcile myself with this ghastly truth I asked myself; has this ‘habit’ been propagated by women? I do not believe that men cheat because their wife was not sufficient in a certain area. I am convinced that people; men and women alike, cheat because they cannot say no, they simply lack self control and temperance, in that given moment. But when men do cheat, have women become complacent and accepted this as gospel; saying ‘Boys will be boys’?
As I sat with those women, I heard them tell stories, some tales were over half a century old. Am I too bold to say that these ‘Yoruba cheaters’ continued to cheat as women dealt with things that were more important? After all, the life of a woman is not an easy one. Back in the day, these men married several wives who met their needs accordingly. Has religion and westernisation attempted to stifle their natural instincts? Is it true that all African men are polygamous by nature? After all, Bill Clinton was neither African, black nor Yoruba! As a result I am convinced that there is nothing a woman can do to prevent any man, black or white from cheating. Maybe these are vices that will just not go away.
That conversation caused me to ask several questions. Is cheating to be expected if married to a Yoruba man? Should women be grateful when their Yoruba men don’t cheat? If women demanded faithfulness, will they receive it? Is this a plague, or a cultural norm? Should women accept it or ask for better? Is this a fault in the way men have been raised? When men do cheat, is it a woman’s sole responsibility to reclaim her home? Is it true that a woman of virtue forgives her husband of all sins in advance? Are Yoruba men really worse than their counterparts in other tribes? Is monogamy even natural? Is it fair to single out Yoruba men who excel at polygamy?
Do share your thoughts below, you know Dami loves to chat.
Until next time.
Image via Nairaland
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