Marriage as an institution approved by nature and could be defined as the legal, formally recognized or accepted union between two persons, usually involving a man and a woman. It is noteworthy that there are factors that affect marriage. These factors include: religions precepts or tenets, culture and traditions, legal systems, sexual orientation and political factors.
Ethnicity is one major factor that affects marriage decisions. In some parts of Africa, inter-ethnic marriage is prohibited. There are perceptions surrounding this. When intra-ethnic marriage takes place, there is the belief that it elongates friendship, boosts and promotes continuity and fosters bonding.
Inter-ethnic marriage could also be referred to as inter-tribal marriage or inter-racial marriage. It is the union between people of different tribes or races. Intra-ethnic marriage is the union between people of the same ethnic group.Inter-ethnic marriage may have several issues or challenges tied to it.
One of its main challenges is language barrier. Differences in language has served as a great hindrance to inter-ethnic marriage. For instance, Nigeria as a nation is made up of over 200 ethnic groups each with its unique and diverse language.
Traditional societies also frown at inter-ethnic marriage because of tribal history, superiority among tribes, rivalry, intolerance, and gender roles among others. Each society has its customs, traditions, precepts, principles and rules. Some of these customs may be perceived as archaic, but traditional societies still hold unto them.
In some African countries, inter-ethnic marriage is foreign, a taboo and people are banished from their communities. Sometimes, people who are bent on getting married to people from other tribes, elope with their lovers. Intra-ethnic marriage unites people’s lives socially, emotionally and culturally more, compared to inter-ethnic marriage.
The questions arising from inter-ethnic marriage between people are numerous. As regards language barrier, what steps could be taken to avoid conflict in inter-ethnic marriage? Does inter-ethnic marriage solve national problems? Should love be tied to ethnicity? The answers to these questions still remain relative because each society functions on different established traditions and belief systems.
Opebiyi Kofoworola is a seasoned poet,an ardent reader,an influencer,a writer,a media enthusiast and a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University.