Seriously…..the sequel….

(note: I don’t think any of my readers is in need of this but just in case someone suddenly and inexplicably develops a sense of humour bypass, this is for you: do not take anything in these next two instalments of Yoff Tales personally….)

Remember this? That was a bit of comic relief from the Humanities. This being a branch of academe that tends to take itself rather seriously, I was disappointed at the lack of vitriol directed at me.

Maybe they don’t read my blog. Their loss.

Anyway, here is a sequel to that view from the Ivory Tower. It’s a piece from L’Observateur (a newspaper here, owned by international superstar and local media tycoon Youssou N’dour) about mixed marriages – again: in Europe.

Libasse Sarr writes from Paris and reports that African migrants of either sex tend to consider marriage with a European to be (his/her words) “the jackpot”. In answer to that famous Tina Turner song What’s luuurve got to do with it, the answer appears to be, rather disconsolately:

bugger all. Oh dear.

It gets interesting when the writer starts to differentiate between the sexes and unlike those in the Humanities, he’s got the memo: She’s the Boss (broad brush stroke, exceptions duly noted but we’re talking about the rule here). Men have known this since the advent of time and have consistently acted accordingly, mostly by staying out of Her way. This has worked very well. Consider this classic scenario: he gets out of the house early every day, earns the family income, does as he told when in the house and has the good grace to leave the planet five to seven years before she does, so she can enjoy his money in peace.

Now – our good friend and reporter Libasse Sarr has noticed something unremarkable: women migrating to Europe from this neck of the woods have the same memo. So what happens is this: they marry a “toubab” (a term, sometimes affectionate, sometimes mildly derogatory; it means “European”), they get what they need from the arrangement (money, papers, child, whatever) and then string him up. The law is their friend and they know it. In short: jackpot. “Toubab” in question has learnt an expensive lesson and some of them actually share their stories so that others may learn too…not holding my breath personally…

So far there is nothing devastatingly new. But it gets really interesting when we turn our attention to the men who go to Europe from here. Let’s call them Modou-Modou, like Libasse Sarr does. Modou arrives in Europe and thinks he may be able to arrange papers and so forth with a female “toubab”. Jeebus…he now has to deal with two laws that are his mortal enemies: European immigration law and European marriage law.

Good luck with that.

Nobody told him that the memo that obtains at home does not change when he enters another continent. Class, what is the bedrock of West African society? That’s right: it is the extended family. And the extended family (now pay attention class) is a highly complicated organism that HE heads nominally…but SHE runs in practice. These are, de facto, matriarchies. Modou will soon find out that Europe’s no different.

So he gets himself acquainted with a female “toubab” and six months later She kicks his philandering ass out on the streets (de-facto matriarchies worldwide tend to produce rather unreliable men). What follows is usually awful. Memorable quote from a Zambian colleague who visited Amsterdam for a conference, after some observation: “Don’t want to live here – too many broken black men on the streets…”

But don’t get depressed. There is some excellent news in the next instalment!


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2 Responses to “Seriously…..the sequel….”

  1. Seriously….the end? « Bram Posthumus – Yoff Tales Says:

    […] Bram Posthumus – Yoff Tales from my street in Yoff, Dakar, Senegal and far beyond…. « Seriously…..the sequel…. […]

  2. Dakar – Dalaba (same Sunday) « Bram Posthumus – Yoff Tales Says:

    […] is complete. He has found his wayward nephew and is busy reporting this to a few key members (all female, naturally) of his extended family. He then bids farewell; he’ll take his precious lorries across the border […]

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