‘At 4 a.m., I called the midwife. ‘Where is HE from?’ she inquired as soon as she walked in. She made a gesture toward my spouse.’ ‘Our tale is beautiful, but prejudice is weaved into it,’ says a woman in an interracial marriage.

“It’s been a little over five years since our love journey began.

I recall the first time he approached me to speak with me. My sister and I were at church, and the service had just ended. Everyone was mingling, and I noticed Emmanuel approaching us out of the corner of my eye. I’m not sure what we talked about because all I could think was, “WOW, this guy is so HOT!!!” We were entirely inseparable from then on. I was that annoying person who wanted to talk about him even if I wasn’t near him (my poor friends). We were both relatively young and in love at the time.

Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa

One of the aspects about Emmanuel that I admired was the culture he brought to our connection. It was distinct from mine, which I sought in a man. Don’t get me wrong: I adore New Zealand culture, but I’ve always been intrigued by other people’s cultures. The idea of marrying into one appealed to me because it allows us to celebrate the distinctions when two cultures intersect. It never occurred to me that I might have friends who were less welcoming of different cultures than I was.

Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa

I was completely unaware of it because I grew up in a privileged white environment, attended a private school, and lived in a posh neighbourhood dominated by white middle-class families. Racism did not affect me, and I never witnessed it. I recall telling a buddy about Emmanuel when we first started dating. I informed her about his beautiful attributes before pulling out my phone and showing her a snapshot of him. ‘Is he poor?’ she asked when she saw a photo of him, much to my dismay. Is he a mud hut dweller?’ These remarks floored me, and I immediately began defending him. I left her apartment not long after that talk.

I remember kicking myself because, rather than protecting him, I should have called her out for making such a remark. I was astounded that someone I considered a friend would judge and comment only based on his skin tone. I was ignorant that people would say things like that since it was so far from my thinking. That was the last time I saw her for the sole purpose of shielding Emmanuel from those remarks. I felt embarrassed that I had a friend who spoke and thought things like that. It wasn’t until recently that I told Emmanuel about my encounter.

Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa

We had been dating for two years when we decided to get married. On September 7th, 2017, he asked her to marry him. It was one of the most memorable evenings of my life. Emmanuel took me to a viewing point from which I could see the entire city of Auckland. We got out of the car and walked in front of the car lights so that the photographer (who I had no idea was lurking behind a bush) could picture him proposing. It was highly romantic when Emmanuel got down on one knee and took out the ring! He then took me to this restaurant to celebrate, which was meaningful because it was the first restaurant he took me to when we were dating.

However, one incident from the restaurant has tainted our evening. When we arrived at our table, the waitress placed the menu in front of me with great care, then slammed it in front of Emmanuel. ‘Perhaps it was an accident; I’m sure they didn’t mean to do that,’ I’ll think. However, this time, I recall how deliberate she made him feel strange and uncomfortable, and unfortunately, it ruined our evening.

We tied the knot on February 2nd, 2018. It was the most incredible day, full of so much love. I wouldn’t change a thing about that day in my life. It was ideal. Aside from saying “I do,” my favourite part was shocking our guests when we re-entered the reception dressed in matching African clothes. Two cultures were honoured on our wedding day was an unforgettable experience that I will never forget.

Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa
Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa
Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa
Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa

We travelled to Togo in 2018 to surprise Emmanuel’s grandmother on her 80th birthday. We had never been to Africa before. It was incredible to meet his family for the first time in Ghana. They were pretty tolerant of me and treated me as if I had been a long-time friend. It was interesting to see Emmanuel with his entire family. They communicated as though they were family, yet it was evident that, despite being related, they had vast cultural differences, as Emmanuel was born and reared in New Zealand.

I’ll never forget him saying that he feels like an outsider in New Zealand because of his skin tone and that he always assumed he’d fit in once he arrived in Africa. He rapidly discovered, however, that this was not the case. Where in the world would he be treated as a citizen of the country and not a minority?

Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa

On May 15th 2020, our baby girl was born. Shiloh Afiwa is her name. We felt it was critical to include Emmanuel’s culture in her name. In Ghana, Afiwa means “Friday.” In every aspect, she is ideal. After she was born, we went to a birthing centre to educate me on how to nurse. I contacted the midwife at 4 a.m. one morning while we were there. I’d like you to come in and assist me.

When she came in and inquired where we were from, we were surprised. I immediately understood what she meant. ‘Uh, Auckland,’ I responded, but this didn’t please her. ‘No, where are YOU from?’ she asked, turning to Emmanuel and pointing to him. Where did your blackness come from, she was honestly saying. At 4 a.m., my poor husband is being bombarded with these types of questions.

Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa
Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa

When my husband was younger, he was constantly advised to turn the other cheek if someone racially remarked at him. Don’t respond or become upset because you’ll fall into the stereotype of the “angry black man.” However, in light of the worldwide protests, we’ve changed our minds about how we want to respond to events that directly affect Emmanuel and our newborn girl. It is critical to speak up and correct individuals and do it lovingly. We want to show Shiloh that she has a voice and is entitled to speak up for herself.

Our love storey is lovely, but racism is weaved within it, and when you think things are looking up, racism rears its ugly head once more. In these times, it is my responsibility to learn, listen, and respect how my husband feels. It’s not about me, but by teaching others, I can help close the gap.”

Courtesy of Morgan Darkwa

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