Aug 13, 2020

3 min read

6 Things you might not know about dating in Africa

It’s been a little more than a year since we launched the Vybe beta app. It has come with a lot of happy, sad and sometimes exciting moments. But above all, it has been an important learning experience. The journey of connecting Africans online & offline has helped us discover some surprising things about dating in Africa.

Here are 6 things you might not know about dating in Africa:

  1. The Blueprint: A lot Africans have a blueprint or ‘spec sheet’ of qualities that they require a potential partner to possess. Most of these requirements are driven by their family (immediate & extended) and their community. I’m sure most people generally have an idea of what qualities they want in a partner but for a lot of Africans, it can be very detailed. A good example is the newspaper placement below.
Sample News Paper placement for a partner. Source: The Punch Newspaper

2. The Fast & the Curious: In Uganda and some other parts of East Africa, it’s quite common to discuss marriage plans on the first date. It’s almost as common as discussing your favourite food or colour and some couples even go as far as discussing the number of children they plan to have on the first date.

3. Polygamy in Côte d’Ivoire: In 1964, polygamy was abolished in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). All polygamous marriages before this time are still recognised by the law. However, any new attempts at polygamy are punishable by a fine of CFA 50,000 to CFA 500,000 (US$80 to US$800) or six months to three years imprisonment under the law.

Source: Giphy

4. The Owambe effect: In Nigeria and some other parts of West Africa, weddings are a very popular place for single people to meet potential love interests. It might be something in the air at weddings or just the idea of seeing ‘relationship goals’ but people seem to find it easier to connect at nuptial ceremonies.

Source: Giphy

5. Ma Fo: “Ma fo” is an urban Yoruba slang that roughly translates to “Don’t lose composure” and that’s exactly what is expected of women during courtship in some parts of Africa. Women are expected to conceal their interests in a man during courtship so as not to seem desperate or too eager. Some even go as far as barely acknowledging the man’s interest and existence.

Source: Giphy

6. The Matriachy: In some parts of Africa, women are the number 1 decision makers when it comes to relationships and marriage. The men are expected to hunt and engage in other physical activities that will make them look attractive with hopes of being selected for marriage by a woman and moving into her home. Men that decline a woman’s proposal risk bringing shame to their family.

It might sound funny but this dynamism of dating in Africa is one of the reasons we started Vybe. We know that finding a partner is a personal experience and we’re working to provide the best experience for Africans using technology.

So tell us, which was the most surprising to you?