„Eyen mi nyamkkenyam, nnọ ke ndọ…’:Deconstructing Some Stereotypic Views on Marriage in Efik Culture

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Stereotypes within any society have consequences that are sometimes harmful and also affect targeted group of persons or ethnic group in a common way. One of the cultural stereotypes about Efik women is that they hardly believe in ‘…till death do us apart’ promised during monogamous marriage rite, that is, they walk out of marriage when conditions are unbearable. The misinterpretations of some exhortations given to the couples at Efik traditional marriage rite seem to support this claim. For example: ‘Eyen mi nyamkkenyam, nnọ ke ndọ; ebot ebot edi unyam. Mm’ ifonke mendiyak, abang okubomo ikim okuwaha utong’. This exhortation is translated as: ‘I have not sold my child but given her to you in marriage; only goat is for sale. If she is no longer good for you bring her back. Let nothing malevolent happen to her.’ This implies that the life of one’s daughter is priced over marriage. One of the aims of this article is to investigate the context of this statement and how it has shaped people’s perception of marriage among the Efiks in Nigeria. In addition, this paper seeks to deconstruct some of the stereotypical views on Efik traditional marriage with regard to the female gender. Theories of Correspondent Inferences and Attribution in Social Psychology are used in understanding how women in Efik culture respond to marriage. Data from quantitative analysis of questionnaires and oral interviews threw more light on how cultural changes influence marriage institution among the Efiks. The findings of the research show that intermarriage, education, peer group influence, Western religious cultures, socio-economic conditions, etc., have necessitated the reconsideration of stereotypical views on marriage in Efik culture.
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Archival date: 2020-02-21
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