Differences in religions has since time immemorial been a reason for failed relationships in communities.
Some Muslims have asked their children against marrying non-Muslims, Catholics warned theirs against bringing Protestants, Christians threatened daughters and sons with curses if they married traditionalists and vice versa.
Regardless of the desire to obey one’s parents, getting coerced into giving up on a loved one is surely a painful experience.
At the worst, children have disobeyed parents and instead gone ahead to convert to their partners’ faiths and in some cases, parents have disowned children for the disobedience.
How about if all he or she demands is that you denounce your tribe for you to have any chance at landing her for a wife or husband?
Unlike religion, a tribe is a hard identity to change.
Some argue that it’s because one’s tribe flows in the blood of its members. Yet it’s also claimed that denouncing one’s tribe would attract sinister misfortunes from one’s ancestry.
James, a Public Relations Officer of a big firm in Kampala says all Grace would give for rejecting his marriage proposal was because they belonged to different tribes.
Much as they both seemed to inanely love one another, their relationship failed to graduate to anything beyond the usual flirting.
From promising one another heaven and earth, feeling accustomed to one another, to staying out late in the night to watch the stars in the skies, James had developed an irresponsible urge to call Grace “the woman of my life.”
“After nearly two years of dating, I felt it was the right time to talk about marriage. But each time I brought it up, she seemed uneasy,” says James.
“It was clear something was not right though I couldn’t precisely figure out what it was.”
James was a reasonably younger but successful nice looking young man that every woman would die to have for a future husband.
His tall slender body, charcoal dark hair and forested eyebrows made him exceedingly unresponsive when it came to ladies of his age group.
In fact, most of the girls who knew the couple regarded Grace a lucky woman to have such a wonderful man.
One would say James was an introvert yet a romantic passionate young man.
He didn’t usually go to happening places such as night clubs and bars for he only drank occasionally.
He loved the moon light and at every full moon, he would ask his woman to hold hands as they walked in the breeze of the night.
They would then sit down among the rocks adjacent to the nearby catholic church and there, they would talk till they felt sleepy. She loved it.
After a very rigorous process of trying to dig up what could be the reason he would not get a yes from the woman he so dearly loved and believed she equally did, the bitter truth hit him like a bomb fragment. Her parents had refused to okay the marriage!
For a Musoga from Eastern Uganda, Grace’s parents had told her marrying him would be a disgrace to her native Bahima community and that the family would become a laughing stock.
Every effort to convince them otherwise continuously fell on deaf ears until she eventually gave up.
“I was heartbroken and ran into a depression that nearly ruined my entire life. At that time, I had come to believe James was the only man that was made for me,” says Grace.
“Parting and never having him by my side was something I wasn’t prepared to take.”
But after some years, she says she realized her parents’ point. That this was a Bahima custom that they too never had the powers to break even when they might have as well felt uncomfortable with it.
Unlike Grace, Josephine, her friend and tribe mate, managed to convince her parents to let her and Joseph – a Muganda – marry.
They have three children together and they have since done a church wedding.
Another lady, Christine, however narrates that she too had a tough time before her family could accept her decision and consent to the marriage.
According to Boniface Byamukama, a scholar of African history and an author, such beliefs, though outdated are intended to help preserve culture.
He says, some societies that had feared extinction in the past had believed by preaching against cross marriages, they would expand and maintain purity of their blood.
He further says this was equally true for minority tribes who believed this practice would help raising more offspring of their real blood and improve their status in the community.
Powerful ethnicities like Bunyoro and Buganda for instance on the other hand encouraged intermarriages as a way of dominating their inferior and subordinate counterparts.
By so doing, they would emerge stronger and dominant over the others.
There have however been a number of success stories on mixed marriages.
Many men from the West have married from the East, North, Central and the vice versa, and they have lived in harmony. This thus downplays the rationale of preaching against intermarrying amongst ethnicities.