Hello Muttering Minds, I feel too broken at heart to say the least and I’m hoping you can share my story…
What is love really? What’s the essence of love if at the end of the day family still has to decide who you should love? What is love if we still have to abide by the rules our forefathers made a thousand years before we were born?
In 2016, I met this lovely dude, we kicked off as friends and so quickly started to share a special affection for each other. We fell in love without any friction and by mid-2017, we started dating. So much love to give, he’s cool, romantic, and sweetly annoying. Despite our silly fights and challenges, we always have ways of overcoming as a couple.
Dude knows how to tolerate my mood swings which could sometimes cross the border, but we cool. I don’t know if words do justice to how much I am in love with him but it is what it is. We’ve been through low blows, tear-jerking moments and for a fact, he makes me believe in the existence of true love that I cannot help but imagine spending the rest of my life with him. He’s a romantic.
At last year’s crossover (2020), I got to meet his family. Prior to the time, I usually felt nervous over the thought of “meeting the family” (I guess it’s normal). I always imagined most importantly if they’d like me, how to behave, you know these horror mother-in-law stories we hear. But his is different. The few days I spent with his family felt like I had known them for ages. The love was so genuine, it wasn’t one of those where you can smell pretense, No! I felt really welcomed. I could tell that love lives in his family.
Fast forward to meeting mine to discuss marriage… My man also had the same phobia, he decided seeing my mum first will be best as he believes she could talk on his behalf to my dad first. According to him, most fathers are usually not arms open at the first meeting, which I agreed to. Fortunately, he found favor in my mum’s eyes, she thought he was cool, so we decided to climb the step further to meet my dad.
My man visited home and got talking with my dad. I hail from the eastern part of Nigeria, I’m Igbo, and precisely from Imo state likewise my man. In my culture, when a man comes to seek a lady’s hand in marriage (popularly called ‘knocking on the door’), asking where he’s from, his origin, is a primary question.
My dad inquired about his roots, the name of his village, and stuff. As soon as he mentioned the name of his village, my dad’s facial expression became sour. “We do not marry from this place! We do not marry your people, it is an abomination!”, my dad said without remorse, adding that he would make further investigation again about my man’s village. It happens that my man is an Osu (outcast).
Osu Practice In Igbo Land
If you’re not Igbo (even some Igbo’s don’t know this), the Osu caste system is as old as the Igbo tradition. The origin dates back to the era where Igbo villages were ruled by the laws of the earth Odinani. The deity known as Ala had some rules that must be obeyed (just like a country has its constitution). Those who broke any of these rules or were found guilty of grave offenses were cast away from the land as it was believed their presence will bring ill fortune to the village. The offenders were regarded as Osu. Sometimes the Osu’s could be used as slaves or sold for slavery or enslaved in shrines to serve the deities ruling the land and also if the community needed a human’s blood sacrifice for cleansing or during festivals, the Osu’s were used. Osu’s were also deprived of homes and made to sleep in shrines or marketplaces.
The Osu’s were not allowed to have social interactions let alone marriage with the freeborns (non-offenders) as they are considered as bad luck. It is fondly said that whenever a freeborn marries an Osu, his/her life turns around for the worst. In modern times, some Igbo traditional rulers like the Obi of Onitsha in October 2018, made a move to ensure the Osu caste system is abolished. Also, some traditional leaders in Oguta Local Government filed a motion to end the madness, urging that people do not deserve to face the wrath that comes with the sins of their age-long ancestors. I also read somewhere that Nnamdi Azikwe while he was alive moved a motion for the abolishment in 1956 in the Eastern Nigerian House of Assembly but it was a fruitless motion.
So far, some parts of Igbo land claim it’s no longer practiced but a greater number still hold it highly even though modernization has quenched the loudness surrounding it.
Imagine one person in your lineage committed a crime as far back as a thousand years ago and you still suffer the punishment/ discrimination in this 21st century. I’m broken, I’m confused, and I feel too hurt. My dad has refused to give ears to whatever concerns marriage to my man despite my man saying his family is not one.
I feel depressed, betrayed, frustrated, and for the most of it, unloved by my family. My mother who described my man as cool no longer sees him as such, my three sisters except one have also turned their backs against me. They keep fuelling the fire urging that I must end the relationship with my man otherwise I will bring curses upon our family. I never imagined I was going to face something this grave. My man doesn’t mind going all out to ensure we get married. His family is also very welcoming and wants me but not without my father’s blessings.
What should I do? Should I follow love and face the consequences of being disowned forever by my family? Or follow family and lose love? I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love my man, I cannot process the thought of letting go and starting all over. Imagine a whole four years down the drain, It’s suicidal, I find it hard to process.
I need help. If you’re reading this and have ever been at crossroads in deciding if to choose love or family (on the grounds of religion or culture), I need your advice. Maybe you’re an Osu too or you got married to one, please talk to me. Did anything bad happen to you? I need help, I can’t make this decision on my own. Do family blessings matter in a marriage? Is a father’s blessing important or overrated when it comes to marriage? If you were in my shoes, what would you do? I’ll appreciate your sincere comments. 👇👇
Do not forget to like, rate, and share this article! Wish to Support With A Token? Click Here Remember to check-in every Friday for New Stories!!