Thursday August 28 2014

What’s the fuss about White skin?



By Mike Ssegawa

I am a fan of the Lonely Hearts section in this magazine. I am also a regular at places where African, contemporary or reggae music plays. At such places like the National Theatre, you hardly miss sight of an interracial couple spending a romantic evening as the music plays away.

Mixed race romance isn’t a new thing. Even without love involved, there is something that attracts people to other cultures. In the days of slave trade, for example, when Africans were thought an inferior race, half caste babies were a common sight!

What is, however, lost on me is why more African women than men dream of marrying Caucasian men. In the Lonely Hearts section, you will read and hear in conversations, of women expressing that they wish to have a mixed-blood baby.

What, however, I understand better is when these women talk about the care the White man puts in their relationships. A friend once told me, “Ugandan men don’t care” and “they are unfaithful”. Some African women have this funny perception that when they marry a Caucasian man, their financial woes will disappear. How wrong!

Last week, two women visited me at the office. One is a Ugandan who has lived in Europe for 15 years. She came along with her friend, a Dane volunteering at a women’s NGO in Kampala. Being a Thursday, they had shared a photo of the Lonely Hearts page on their Facebook walls. Their friends back in Denmark had had a field day, commenting on the preferences of the love hunters in Uganda.

Some of them thought they want the men for money! It could be true.
But the group I am mostly interested in is the one that believes White men are better lovers.
I have heard many women list characteristics such as “a man who cares” in their dream man.
By that, I have come to understand, it is a man who sits there all day listening to them, pampering them with gifts. Never mind these gifts cost money, which one has to make by working for it.
I understand, however, that women also want their men to help out with the babies, in the kitchen, or lotion them after a bath.

Unfortunately, these men are mostly in the movies – rather, TV soaps – and that is why you find a cult of women following one soap after another. Possibly admiring what is not in their spouses. It does not matter that those men in films do not show you how they make their money.

Well, in the real world, men spend more time working than walking in the park, on beaches or eating in expensive restaurants and sleeping in resorts. The quicker women understood that, the better. But, Ugandan or African men can copy something from our brothers in Europe or North America or even in the movies; our women have moved from the era where they were treated like beasts of burden.

If she bears you babies, she knows that it is your duty too, to babysit and change diapers. She will ask that you help out in the kitchen, if she is making the bed. You won’t lose your fingers if you prepared breakfast or dinner. And, you don’t have to return home after midnight every day.
But then, there are things that many African men just won’t do:

We shall never sit there all day, admiring your feet when we have bills to pay. Secondly, sundowners are good as a mark of romance, but not every day or week. And eating at restaurants all week so that you don’t get your nails dirty just won’t work; you may need to prepare a meal at home because your husband loves it, and it is cost friendly.

I am sure real White people also have day jobs, and possibly, night jobs to afford a luxury holiday where you met him and also fitted you into his schedule. And when he returns to his job, he may be no different from the man you left in your neighbourhood. So, look for love, not just colour.