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When I spoke to another Congolese person they understood me, but when I spoke to someone who didn’t speak my mother tongue, conversations couldn’t be as natural as I wanted them to be.

A Ghanaian friend of mine told me “My (Jamaican) boyfriend really tried to speak my language because he realised that it was important to me.” Ethnic capital of the world For me, a twenty-something year old Congolese woman who grew up in the city of London – a city I like to call “the ethnic capital of Europe” – dating someone from a different culture was not a problem.

Forty years later, the world celebrates Janani Luwum.Some desperate changes are needed at the African Union for the continental body to face the future.As one uncle put it to me [I’m Congolese], “If you married a Nigerian, how would you cope if he wanted to retire in Nigeria? Could we really say that relationships would be easier if we were with someone of the same origin? If you’re going to marry a foreigner, marry a white man.” These were the words that fell from my friend’s mother’s mouth when her daughter told her she was dating a Nigerian man because she was tired of Congolese men. ”, said my friend in response, defiantly challenging her mother, to my dismay (anybody knows better than to challenge an African mother! White people “White people don’t have much culture; it’s easy to adapt either way. Was it really for our own good to find our life partners within our own culture?Language “The problem is language; it’s the major issue” 36-year-old Alexi from Congo told me.

“For most of us English is not our first language, we think in our mother tongue then translate it into English. Love blinds common sense.” “No Nigerian, Ghanaian or Jamaican man is welcome in my house. Why is it better for me to be with a white man than it is to be with a Nigerian? How many marriages do you know of people from two different African countries that have lasted till old age? I pondered those phrases: “It’s for your own good” and “stick to your own”. Stop wasting your time; you’ll regret it when you get older. It’s for your own good”, said her mother, adamantly.It didn’t help when I went to their houses and the family would purposely speak in their language to exclude me, which reminded me that I wasn’t one of them.It was for this reason that I began to look for like-minded guys who were also from my own culture, guys I could relate to. I know my family would be pleased if I brought home a Congolese man, but what if I do so to my own detriment? Love blinds common sense.” The idea of retiring in a country totally unfamiliar to me is quite daunting and something I know would take a lot of discussion with my future partner, if he happened to have a different country of origin.If you can communicate with someone in a language that you both feel comfortable with, it makes being with that person easier.