A story is told of a woman who said she would rather cry in a Benz than laugh on a bicycle of a poor man who is head over heels in love with her. That you would rather endure a loveless relationship in riches than live the fairytale love life in poverty.
This debate was back in the news last week following the controversy surrounding the marriage of Urban Boys’ Safi Madiba to Judith Niyonizera, who is rumoured to be a very rich woman based in the Diaspora. The grapevine is rife that the musician was smitten by the money of his new found love and like they say the rest is history. The two are living as husband and wife. But his jilted ex girlfriend thinks it won’t be the story of ‘they lived ever happily after’.
Madiba wedded Niyonizera just a few months after breaking up with Parfine Umutesi, whom he’s said to have dated for over two years.
Days after the wedding, while the couple was on their honeymoon in Zanzibar, Umutesi allegedly sent an audio to a close friend on WhatsApp, ranting about how her ex is just after money and that he didn’t actually marry Niyonizera out of love.
Things took a nasty turn for Umutesi, however, after the said friend shared the audio, eventually making it to other social media sites.
In the audio, Umutesi says that the artiste only got committed to his new wife after she bought him a car and a luxurious house, with both properties registered in Madiba’s names, but she fell short of providing any proof.
But Madiba’s fans came to the defence of their artiste with guns blazing, and ‘shredded’ Umutesi on social media, with most people calling her bitter and disgruntled.
While the trend has been common for many people to put money first when searching for a suitor, the trend is more common in the celebrity world. Many celebrities within and out of Rwanda have been accused of such.
Ugandan singer Guvnor Ace was only 28 when he married 68-year-old Mona-Lisa Larsson, only to dump her after he had used him to get money and the visa to Sweden where Mona-Lisa is a resident. Though he denied being after money, their age difference couldn’t help but make the public think otherwise.
Why is the trend on the rise?
Pacifique Uzamberumwana, famously known as Oda Paccy, a local artiste, believes that whereas it is not right to marry someone just for the sake of their money, some people do it in pursuit of a good life.
“Some people want an easy life and marrying a rich person could be the easy way out. I am sure that no body wishes to spend his or her whole life suffering, and this is why some get married to people they possibly do not love, because they want an easy life,” she says.
The rapper is, however, quick to add that on the other hand, it could just be someone’s destiny and genuinely fall in love and marry a rich person, and not purposely for their money.
She is nonetheless against the idea of marrying for money.
“It is better to get married because you love that person instead of running after material things. In life, some things are temporary, money comes and goes and all that you will be left with is a partner you don’t even care about,” she adds.
Loren Arinawe, a cashier, says money has become a must have attribute when looking out for a potential lover. For many, perhaps, it is top on the list of the attributes a suitor should have before saying yes.
“Be it men or women, most of them want a companion who is ‘loaded’ and the reason is simple, people just want to have a happy life. This is no longer a secret and it is leading to a lot of money-minded marriages,” she says.
R&B singer Yvan Buravana argues that people who marry for money do it out of the need to secure their future.
On the issue of some celebrities marrying for money, the artiste says he wouldn’t point it out as a fact.
“I don’t know if some musicians actually marry for the money or if it’s pressure pushing those who do. However, I would advise musicians to avoid pressure in the first place,” he says.
Buravan says that whether people actually hold nuptials based on material things or not, his stand remains on marrying for the right reasons.
“But I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, I believe marriage should be based on true love,” he says.
However, Clement Mutuyeyesu, a shop attendant pokes holes in the so called true love, saying there is nothing like that.
He says people who head out in search of true love end up frustrated because they find out when it’s late that ‘true love is a myth’.
He says people nowadays marry for convenience and not for love per se as it used to be back in the day.
“I am actually not entirely against this idea, besides, everyone has the right to choose what they prefer. In my opinion, true love barely exists, so one cannot just sit around waiting for ‘the one’, hence the need to marry for other reasons, like financial stability,”Mutuyeyesu says.
Counsellors also agree that today’s relationships have been dominated by the love for money to the extent that other attributes don’t count much if a person comes asking for a hand in marriage with a hefty bank account balance and promises of luxury.
Joyce Kirabo, a Kigali-based counsellor, says money has become the biggest influence in most of the major decisions that people are making today.
“People tend to always put money at the forefront when looking for spouses, which as a counsellor I wouldn’t advise. When the money issue becomes the driving factor, at one point, that marriage is bound to end,” Kirabo points out.
“People should get married based on other factors, for example, the qualities of a good partner, instead of putting money first. We know that at the end of the day money cannot do everything in marriage. This should be a union where two people should actually be attracted to each other, be willing to listen to each other, and respect each other,” she says.
The counsellor also says that a marriage based on money lacks respect, more so on the side of the person who has the money.
“Chances are that the person who has money in this case is going to undermine the one who doesn’t have money as the latter will be ‘dancing to their tune’,”Kirabo says.
Pastor Maurice Rukimbira, a marriage counsellor at ST. Etienne Cathedral, shares a similar view. He believes that marriage should be based on love and not material needs.
“The Bible calls on us to get married to meet our need for companionship and procreation, but this should be done out of love and not selfish desires,” he says.
He also adds that when one is looking for a companion, they shouldn’t focus on what their mate is offering, rather, what they are willing to offer.
“When you’re getting married it’s better to see what you are offering as a spouse, be it love or care and not seeing what your spouse will offer you because that is being selfish,”Rukimbira says.