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Mixed marriages, love or financial calculation?

21 October 2021, Mariame Thiam
Mixed marriages, love or financial calculation?

Mixed marriages are increasingly common in Senegal. A phenomenon that is explained by a need especially among girls to get by by any means. However, these unions reveal drawbacks that can be detrimental as these marriages are often sealed without the permission of their parents.

Is this a consequence of the economic crisis or is it a fad? The question is all the more relevant as we are witnessing more and more mixed marriages in Senegal. Nafi 19, barely out of adolescence had to face his whole family to accept his marriage to Alain, a 25-year-old Swede. Love knows neither race, nor religion, nor age, the maxim was. Nafi understood this sentence well because her marriage to her husband was not easy. "I must have been against my whole family because no one was okay with this union, neither my father nor my mother in the first place. They did everything to get me to stop seeing Alain, but we held on.” Her husband, sitting beside her holding her hands, looks fondly at his wife as if to remember the Stations of the Cross he had to take to finally be able to marry Nafi.

For Alain, a Swedish mother of France, things have not been easy. “I had just arrived for the first time in this beautiful country where I truly discovered the meaning of humanism with values that are the opposite of anything I conceived and that had been instilled in me as moral values. My meeting with Nafi in Saly was love at first sight. I didn't know what was happening to me but, I was sure I had found the woman of my life from the first sight of Nafi. " Their union was not easy because, with the opposition of the two families, you had to be strong to get out.

It was eight months later that everything worked out. Nafi says her father finally agreed to her marrying her "toubab" on one condition: that the latter convert to Islam. “He jumped to the ceiling when I broke the news to him. Today, Alain is a real practitioner and myself, who was not so regular with my prayers, I am starting to be more assiduous ".

But, this happy ending for Nafi is not that of Absa who married Stephane despite his father's ban. “At the beginning I told myself that over time, my father would end up forgiving me and understanding me, but he totally denied me as if I was no longer his daughter With Steph everything was fine at the beginning and he had me I even promised to take me to France with him, but what disappointments.” Indeed, for nine months, Absa lived a true love affair with a husband who was always attentive to her, who catered for her every whim. But, like all great stories at an end, it was during a night out at the club that things started to take a turn for the worse. “During this evening Steph met a former friend with whom he was in France. At the end of the evening, I looked everywhere for him, but he was missing. The next day he shows up at our apartment with his girlfriend to throw me at me in the face she was going to live with us. The worst part was that he introduced me as his maid and I was overwhelmed by events, I did not know what attitude to take because I felt trapped ".

Absa went through a real ordeal for cutting all ties with her family and trapping Steph knowing that he was paying her all of her expenses, but in return she was not to say anything and behave like the maid. "For a moment I thought about going home, but I was so ashamed." A feeling that is often felt by girls who, for having disobeyed their fathers, refuse to return to the family home. But Absa can consider herself happy because, she is still in Senegal in her country and can always count on friends who can always play the good offices to reconnect with her family. After four months of ordeal, Absa finally returned to the family home after living through hell with a man who had promised her so much.

Mamy, she had the misfortune to join her husband in France. She had never thought that Bruno was one of those people who could have many faces. Gentle and caring in Dakar, Bruno has become violent and authoritarian in France. "Was it at the airport that he confiscated my passport and papers? He treated me like I never thought a man could treat a woman. In his country, I suffered martyrdom and all the humiliations. I was not allowed to go out or use the phone, and I did all the chores around the house. I was in fact his slave. It was with the help of a compatriot that I was finally able to escape and return to my country for good.

As for Amina, her marriage to Gregory was calculated in advance. “I knew what I wanted and where I was going. He was head over heels in love with me and I knew how to get as much money out of him as possible without any risk. He bought me a house and a car and when I secured all my possessions, I filed for the divorce which I got and now I'm free. " In this dangerous game, the consequences can be dire. Indeed, either we fall on the jackpot or then, we break our teeth but the stakes are often worth the trouble for some. Regardless, mixed marriages are increasingly common in Senegalese society. While some marry for love, others advance the financial argument to get out of this very stubborn economic crisis to the detriment of accepted moral and religious values.
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