“By Nigerian standards, I’m a rich man but my wife. My wife is by far my most priced possession”. Richard Mofe-Damijo’s character tells Blossom Chuwujekwu’s character in the movie “Okafor’s Law”.
“But you little twit”, he continued now in a rage. “You little demon somehow managed to get through to her and you slept with her. My wife. My own wife.” He says pointing at his soon to be victim of assault.
His character proceeds to beat up the guy who slept with his wife’s character and after a couple of blows with his younger victim now in a bloodied heap on the floor, he drops a “friendly” advice before heading off.
“This is just a friendly advice, if I see you anywhere near my wife again. I WILL KILL YOU”, he then spits on him and leaves the scene.
Quite dramatic for a movie scene you might say but any man (an African man for that matter) reading the script above would probably be experiencing the same rage at the thought of his own wife in bed with another man.
No man can take that.
No African man can stand it.
African men are traditionalists. No matter how educated or exposed they may appear to be.
An African man according to tradition, still needs to pay the bride price for a woman before she can officially be called his wife.
The key word here is “bride price”.
Whatever a man pays money for, he places value on. I don’t care what it is. For one to part with money for something, it means he/she values that thing more than the amount of money he used in paying for it.
So an African man pays money to get a wife so she becomes his priced possession exclusively to him and him alone.
In an African man’s mentality. I paid money for my car means I own the car. The car is mine and mine alone. Any other man that lays claim to that car is a thief.
He paid for his wife meaning she’s his wife and his alone. Any other man who touches her is a thief and must be dealt as such.
“But African men cheat and have other women so why can’t their wife’s have other men?”, the African feminist would ask.
An African man would argue that he paid for his wife so he owns her. She’s exclusively for him and him alone. But she didn’t pay for him so he isn’t exclusively for her alone. He can cheat with other women but she isn’t allowed to cheat with other men. It is a taboo.
A flawed mentality this writer would like to add and one he is totally against, however, the fact remains that women are almost twice as likely to forgive a cheating partner than a man would, according to a 2017 survey of over 1,200 people by Illicit Encounters, a dating website for married people. So maybe this belief system has already be engraved into the African woman’s thinking too. Maybe.
Moving to a new town somewhere in Delta State, Nigeria sometime in 2014. I was warned.
“Whatever you do, don’t sleep with another man’s wife or you might be beaten up and chased out of this town”. One of the towns men warned.
“With many fishes in the sea, why would I be tempted by the fish with the gold ring”, I replied.
“It’s easier said than done”, he said while sipping a cold bottle of Origin bitters while I stared lustfully at his young beautiful wife who was asking me what I would love to drink.
“God help me”, I said under my breath.