I asked an African man; what is love? He cleared his throat as his gaze shifted to the sky; with a glare of longing, he told me; “love is respect”. He shook his head as he looked at me, an expression of pure Bliss fixated on his aged face. A smile of faith but, it didn’t last for a while. “It wasn’t always like this” he said. “Love at that time, was priceless”.
“Tell me, Nkanka” I lingered on; for I knew he had a story to tell. A tale of a history I never heard him account for.
“Child, we loved truly and fearfully. Our affection was not based on wealth but, faith, trust and hope to grow old together. Even in time of lack, we strengthened each other and held on to each other. Our ability to work together strengthened our bond , tied by marriage yet it was our hearts that intertwined; our minds that lured into one accord. Our happiness, we shared between us and among others. Our respect for each other’s existence helped to appreciate what we did for each other. Nothing was as strong as our affection. We shared everything. When our offspring came into the world; they strengthened our home. We vowed to stay together, watch them grow and learn; watch them fall and rise like the great iroko tree and watch them become men and women of valour, respect and high esteem. There was no need to call each other names, there was no room for holding grudges after a misunderstanding and there was no need to raise my arm on her. She was a flower with a quiet, warm and calm spirit; lovely and loving in nature and I was lion; king yet loving and tender hearted. I loved her and she loved me equally”.
He paused for a while, taking a deep breath. I looked at him relentlessly, waiting for him to continue from where he had ended but, he looked at me and smiled.
” Take heed, child. That you do not fall pretty to the love that showers today’s homes. Men and women marry for the sake of status and wealthy. I see men filled with lust. I see them going after innocent women; taking away their dignity in the name of love and breaking their heart from the abyss of their souls. Crushing their dreams because they trusted and believed. Child, I see women cumbered with desperation, enticing men for their wealth. I see them loosely commodifying themselves; selling their bodies and souls for money. I see men who abuse their partners; treating them like possessions and not humans and I see woman disregarding third spouse all in the name of human rights and equality. In our time, there was no need to fight for equality- it was a natural feeling; it was an inherent occurrence. Learn from me, child. The love in today’s generation is vanity.