I think that African love also needs to be demystified because some people seem to believe that love did not exist in Africa before the Europeans came. These people believe that in pre-colonial times, Africans did not fall in love at all. Marriages were arranged, young girls were married to old men with harems and if it was not that then children were forced into marriages through betrothals that their parents had arranged before they were even conceived.
Again such beliefs seem to be more suited to the ignorant racists. I don’t know if we even need to be talking about if our African ancestors ever fell in love. After all, we are talking about several million people here with different stories. First of all, I thought love was a human emotion as in there is no switch to be turned on and off in the sense that all human beings are capable of loving others. No one can say that they came to a place and introduced something called ‘love’ to the locals there. If we are saying that pre-colonial Africans that never felt love why stop there, we might as well continue to say that they never felt joy or sadness or fear or anger etc. Secondly, I think the first thing anyone who believes that pre-colonial Africans never fell in love should ask themselves is this; is there a word for love in your native African language? This word should not be an Africanization of foreign Western words. Furthermore, will goddesses of love exist in African traditional religions if the emotion was foreign to them? I do not think so.
I believe that as long as people have been able to eat, sleep and dream, they have been able to love. Who knows if most of the marriages in pre-colonial Africa were based on political or other selfish reasons? However that does not stop people from loving.
As I cannot find any journal articles based on research on this African love topic, I guess this should be an open thread. I would really like to hear other people’s opinions on this issue. I must state that I am not talking about modern times but historically (as usual I am more interested in historical aspects). Let us say precolonial Africa for clarification purposes. I personally do not think this issue should even be an issue at all. Of course that was before I witnessed an African mentioning that there was no such thing as ‘love’ in Africa in the olden days or another person saying that ‘love does not exist in the African context’… erm, really? I guess it was to address such thinking that an anthology of African love stories was released. Personally I believe that it is indeed possible that emphasis was not placed on love in African societies historically but to say that it did not exist is taking things a bit too far. So what do you think?
Oh and another thing before I end this, I enjoy reading smutty romance novels (I also read smutty manga! Kayono rules!) and lately I have been craving romance fiction featuring African heroines. Do such books exist? Can anyone recommend any to me. I do not mind if it is historical or modern or an e-book. I am interested in literally any work as long as the story is good and interesting.
Update: Sugabelly’s rant is a MUST READ! Her post deals with this issue in more depth.