Is it easier for an African woman to be childless if she marries outside her culture?

By Nina Steele 

Childless black womanThe other day, I received an email from a woman in Africa. In it, she explained that a female relative who is unable to have children for medical reasons, has given up on ever dating again, because the minute she tells prospective partners that she cannot have children, they are never seen again. She believes that the only realistic way for her relative to find love again and be treated the way she deserves to be treated, is for her to marry outside her culture. She wanted to know whether I could facilitate relationships between African women and Western men or recommend dating sites of that nature.

I explained to her that I could not facilitate any such relationships for the obvious reason that is not a dating site. To make my point, I told her about a lady who contacted a man after her story was published on this website. The man had posted a comment on facebook page, and he appeared to care about her predicament. It is only when she made contact that she realised he was far from genuine. I told her that should her sister decides to share her story, she should be very careful about making contact with men who leave positive comments. Unless they are vetted and their background checked, anyone can pretend to be something they aren’t. does advertise dating sites, however this is done through a third party, and so I don’t choose them personally.

Of course a great number of relationships are now started online. In fact, it is predicted that ‘half of all new couples will meet online by 2031’. With smartphones having become our constant companions, it is not difficult to see why many people find it easier to find love that way.

Going back to the question of whether it is easier for an African woman to be childless if she marries outside her culture, for me the answer is yes. Even if an African woman in that situation is fortunate enough to be married to a good man, his relatives are likely to put pressure on him to either take a second wife, or dump his wife altogether and marry another one.

My own niece, back in the Ivory Coast, has been living with a man for a good few years now, even though he is still officially married to another woman in his country of origin, a neighbouring African country. He and my niece have two children together. Apparently, the man’s wife is unable to have children and so when he moved to the Ivory Coast, he left her behind and started a new life with my niece. I only found out recently and my mother who told me about their arrangement, didn’t see anything wrong with it. That is African culture for you.

Until men in Africa find the courage to stand up to their families, childless women in Africa will continue to be vilified. Unfortunately, in a culture obsessed with procreation, I cannot see this situation changing any time soon, which is why marrying outside their culture may be the only way for these women to ever find happiness.

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