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Why do Muzungu women like dating Rastas?

Dec 6 • 37833 views • 73 Comments on Why do Muzungu women like dating Rastas? How to...? Uganda travel tips, Society and culture, Travel tips and advice, Uganda

Someone recently asked me: “Why do Muzungu women like dating Rastas?”

If you want to know what’s really going on in mixed relationships, tell me what you think of this one? Some of the experiences shared our explicit.

I’d never really considered Muzungu / Ugandan relationships in that light, and then I thought – with a pang – of the guy I’d been seeing on and off for a year. At the time it never occurred to me he fitted into that category. It ended disastrously – but it had its moments.

THANK YOU: This article was originally commissioned by Arnie Petit, Editor of Empazi Magazine. Thanks for believing in me Arnie. I hope we get a chance to work together again in the future.

So what did I like about Dr Rasta?

In a (mostly) conservative country like Uganda, you’re often judged on your appearance. If you don’t fit in with the status quo, people are going to comment. Perhaps that’s why I like the Rasta look on some men: I like a man who’s not afraid to stand up for himself when challenged.

In Uganda, Rastas or ‘Rasta lookalikes’ symbolise non-conformism. To us Westerners, that can be hot! – we come from societies where self-expression through your personal image is quite normal, encouraged even.

Rasta and muzungu

“Why do Muzungu women like dating Rastas?”

In Uganda, most people agree that Rastas are “either artists, layabouts or career Muzungu daters.” But are those the real Rastas or just the cosmetic variety?

What is a Rasta really?

Rasta refers (incorrectly) to “any person having dreadlocks.”

“True Rastafarians believe that Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie a.k.a. Ras Tafari was the second coming of Christ. Rastafarianism is a common religion amongst black Jamaicans and deeply rooted in African culture. Rastas eat a diet of vegetables, fruit and fish and keep their bodies, mind and soul healthy by staying active in global issues. To be Rastafarian you don’t have to be black; in fact Rastafarianism has to come from the heart. A Rasta does not cut his hair. Rastas are famous for smoking marijuana as a symbol of religious practice.”

Real Rastas – of which there are very few in Uganda it seems – do not touch alcohol.

So for the sake of this article, I have thrown the cosmetic and the real into one big cultural melting pot. Real Rastas, please do not take offence. I echo the sentiments of this guy, who said: “Come on people, think about it before you all start judging dem Rastas. RASTA IS SWEET, COOL, CALM AND COLLECTED WITH A SENSE OF TLC (tender loving care) AND REALITY. The beer thing, hehehe too funny… real Rasta don’t drink…”

What do you say Muzungu ladies?

I’ve spent the last few weeks pondering this question and asked girlfriends why do white women go for Rastas? I posted this same question on Facebook – and then it got interesting!

“Date a Rasta? Ugh, no way! You must be joking – you don’t know what’s living in that hair!” Julia said.

Anja echoed my thoughts: “Rastas are generally a lot more liberal than most Ugandans. They’re less conservative.”

To some women, Rastas represent the exotic. Having dreadlocks or being dark-skinned does not define your “Africaness” – but maybe the ‘first time to Africa’ Muzungu hasn’t worked that out yet?

On Facebook, Tio commented “It’s all about perceptions of “exoticness”, which is why you have Bazungu women falling all over themselves for Masaai men, drape, spear and all.”

One attraction of the Rasta is that they’re easy for us Bazungu to recognise them. Why? Because with their shaved heads, every Ugandan man can look the same from a distance – at least when you first arrive in the country. The Rastas stand out, they are easy to spot in the crowd. We don’t have the embarrassment of mistaking one black face for another!

Personally, I like big hair anyway (I guess us white ladies are used to guys with hair!)

Ugandan hair salon sign

“Trust me with u’r stayle” hair salon, near Mubende, Uganda

After four years, each black face is as different to me as every white one but when I first came to Uganda, I couldn’t remember who was who. I would try and remember each lady by their hairstyle. “Rose has a red bob, Sarah has a weave. Got it!” That didn’t help much, as I soon learned Ugandan ladies like to DRAMATICALLY change their hairstyle every couple of weeks!

Back to dem Rastas and, when I asked a male Ugandan friend why do white women go for Rastas? He said “I have the answer and I know I’m right.”

“These Rasta guys have a lot of time on their hands. They don’t work. He’s got plenty of time to show her the sights and show her around. The conversation might not be meaningful but that’s not what either of them is after. These guys know how to play the game,” my male friend said. “They’ll learn how to dance, they’ll learn how to make love.

The Muzungu lady often falls in love with the Rasta. He’ll say he loves her. She’ll then spend the next couple of years going backwards and forwards between Uganda and her home country trying to keep the relationship alive. These girls come and go. There’s always a new supply coming through and any bad behaviour can be forgotten (by him at least) when she leaves the country.”

As one person neatly summed up, “The thing about a Muzungu-Rasta relationship is that it is so disposable.”

Jane, who has several years experience managing volunteers in Uganda, gave her opinion on why Muzungu girls like Rastas:

“Rastas know where the parties are. They tend to hang out in a ‘posse’ so hooking up with a Rasta = instant friends. We know Rastas have essentially unlimited experience with little white girls, so they know how to talk to them. There are no awkward silences. Rastas do not care how dirty the girl’s feet are, or the last time she showered. They only care about whether or not she is buying him beer.

Jane added “They (and many African men) can talk your pants off. Even if you are unattractive by your culture’s standards, they will make you feel like the most beautiful person in the world.”

One Ugandan male advised “if you are gonna hit on a mzungu girl in Uganda, never wear a freaking tie or talk about your big meetings.” He asks “why do mzungu ladies stay clear of corporate/learned Africans? I have ever hit on a mzungu chick before, but I was either too smart an African or I was not talking dumb enough. It is my unschooled and unkempt Rasta friend who scored.”

Ow. Sorry!

Does the Rasta Muzungu relationship start with drugs?

“Most ‘zungu babes I know smoke weed… [the ones this Facebooker knows anyway!] … their suppliers happen to be Rastafarians, I guess one thing leads to another …”

This Muzungu’s theory is that black, white or brown – ‘girls like a bad boy’ – and in this case Rastas often fit the bill (superficially at least). That’s why the Muzungu girls are going with them rather than the corporate Ugandans. If a white girl’s dating a corporate Ugandan, hell she might as well just date a corporate guy from back home. (Where’s the excitement in that?)

Radio or Weazel 'Wizo'

Guess who the muzungu bumps into at Club Silk, Kampala? ‘Wizo’ a.k.a. Weazel

Also on Facebook, Richard adds that the Muzungu girls “think that all Rastas have big Mandingo dicks and last for hours. Whether true or not, Rastas live up to the bad boy reputation with drugs and alcohol binges that, rather incongruously, make them attractive to Beckies traipsing aimlessly around Africa looking for adventure they can’t find back home.” Just say it like it is Richard!

So would this Muzungu lady date a Rasta?

Despite the bullshit, the sweet talk and the dance moves can be very seductive.

I’d go in with my eyes open (and condoms on!) and an absolute certainty that I’m just one of a number he’s playing with. To entertain any other idea is craziness. Exceptions may exist – but my advice? Enjoy the moment, but don’t kid yourself you’ve found the only faithful “Rasta.” So tell me your experience – anonymously if you like! – what’s the attraction between Muzungu women and Rastas?

So tell me your experience?


What did I say to Julia?

After one dating disaster too many I joked that “if another guy with dreadlocks wants to date me, the first thing he has to do is shave his head.” Next in my dating series: Downtown dreadlocks. The muzungu’s blind date.

« »

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73 Responses to Why do Muzungu women like dating Rastas?

  1. PT says:

    The thing I find troubling about this sort of discussion is that it is highly judgemental and stereotypical and not something that would be acceptable at least in my home country. Some white people come to Uganda and become sensitised to casual racism and then use it themselves. I find it very uncomfortable.
    I am in a relationship with a Ugandan man. He has dreadlocks. Does that mean we are in a mzungu-rasta relationship and that he will inevitably be sleeping with at least 5 different other women? Does that mean that he will rip me off and leave me high and dry? Does it mean he is a loser with no job and I am a silly little white girl with dirty feet?
    I am aware of certain young men in Kampala with dreadlocks who can be seen out in the regular haunts every night (your face-censored friend above included) and I am aware of their behaviour. I am aware of gap year students who find themselves in these same night time haunts and end up having a lot of fun with these guys. I am also aware that, although neither me or my boyfriend engage in these social circles and are both young professionals, our relationship will always be disrespected and disregarded as the meaningless and pitiful thing that you describe, by 99% of people. To those cynical and close minded people I am a naive fool and he is a heartless bastard. It’s very boring to continue to have to contend with this unhealthy state of mind in others. I’m sorry to those who have been hurt by men and treated badly- I’ve experienced it too and it’s crap. The truth is that our personalities attract certain types of people. So look to yourselves to personally transform in a positive way instead of throwing prejudices at others, and maybe like me you will find a man who you find attractive, and who loves you for who you are.

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi PT, thanks for your comments. ‘Highly judgemental’ is perhaps pushing it a bit far – this is based on personal experience and many conversations with all types of people. I was actually commissioned to write this article by a young Ugandan guy. The title was totally his idea; I just happened to have had perhaps a bit too much personal experience on the negative side of this type of relationship. Lucky you to have the opposite experience to me; please prove me wrong 🙂 You’re very welcome to write a guest post from your perspective? I’m sure it would make interesting reading. All the best.

      • Hussein Kato says:

        Muzingu like very much to date raster reason they can all stay without bathing and they look at themselves as unique yet they not”

        • the muzungu says:

          Hi Hussein, I don’t think that is the ONLY reason that muzungus like to date rastas, but it might be the case for one or two of them; that was just the tongue-in-cheek opinion of someone who has worked with a lot of volunteers.
          Do you think the volunteers think they are unique? Possibly – but then when you have lots of young men giving you attention, it can make you feel special can’t it?
          And when you look at it from a western point of view, being a volunteer in Africa is a fairly unusual thing to do. Doesn’t mean you are unique, but it does mean you are a bit unusual

    • Stephen says:

      hi PT, your comment is really true. the thing is, most caucasian girls hang arround with what we can call “bad boys”. if any of them is looking for a stable and meaningful relationship, then ofcourse its going to be more or less the same process as in Europe or America. ie: the girl falls for the guy but the guy is unserious so he cheats on her and they break up, the girl is then cautious of all the men. so is it simple any where on earth?? no its not.

      • the muzungu says:

        I think you have hit the nail on the head. A bad boy is a bad boy the world over… I think it’s just the ‘wrapping’ that looks a bit different. Also, if you’re travelling to Uganda for the first time – a tourist, or a volunteer, for example – you can get caught up in the whole buzz of having a new experience, and take risks that you wouldn’t do back home. Riding a boda boda is a case in point: I would never get on a motorbike without a helmet in the UK. And I would certainly NEVER get on the back of a motorbike of some random guy who appears out of nowhere, like everyone does in Kampala. But when you’re living this new life, you do silly things.
        OK am guilty as charged 🙂

    • arthur says:

      “There are no awkward silences. Rastas do not care how dirty the girl’s feet are, or the last time she showered.” seriously this made me not to qualify as a rasta hahaha can’t afford weeks minus shower guess am not hooking up a muzungu babe and something you may have skipped is bazungu babes besides the rastaz love art and craft especially deep African craft and beads so come dressed in some local attire you will be the center of attention

  2. Linda says:

    Can I share your Why do Muzungu women like dating Rastas? Article on my blog. Really loved it. I had been asking my self the same question for a long time. finally I get the answers. nice

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Linda, you’re very welcome to quote my article if you link back to this page. Do bear in mind these are just opinions, not scientific facts! And I’m sure there are still more answers to the same question. Pls don’t confuse these ‘plastic rastas’ with the real deal. Rastas are generally very cool, tolerant and warm people. Unfortunately, there are people who pretend to be rastas and ride on the back of these rastas’ caring attitude; girls trust these fakes cos they don’t really understand what Rastafarianism is all about – in this Muzungu’s view.

  3. martin says:

    Well I believe the point is somewhere that rasta understand a muzungu culture than average Ugandans which makes it easy for him to hook a muzungu girl. Partying and smoking are additions that make a rasta score points given the fact average Ugandans do not smoke. There are also other reasons that hold like attractiveness. But personally I think its exposure that supersedes because there are specific words that a black girl expects that would make her surrender her foni number, accept a date and so on. Its these very words that would turn off a muzungu girl immediately. So non exposed rasta would still find himself on a losing side as he will get trapped in the cultural difference(s). What is your take????????

    • the muzungu says:

      Ok so firstly, let me be clear, my article is about ‘plastic – fake – rastas’ not true ones. I have a lot of respect for Rastafarianism.
      Am very interested in the “specific words that a black girl expects that would make her surrender her foni number, accept a date and so on. Its these very words that would turn off a muzungu girl immediately.” So which words might I hear that would turn me off, in your opinion? Am intrigued!
      The more you date outside your culture, the more you will learn thus the more success you should have over time, dating outside your culture … assuming you actually learn; tho not everyone does, some just repeat the same cultural blunders!

  4. Joshmali says:

    Quite an interesting take … I’m going to start keeping dreadlocks, and then I’ll confess that I’m a fake rasta on the first date 😉

  5. As a Real Rasta, I can only roll my eyes and sigh at most of the above. However, I strongly feel that you need to be accurate with your pictures. The one you have there is of Emperor Mennelik II and not of Emperor Haile Selassie I.

    • the muzungu says:

      Dear Masimba, am delighted to have a real comment from a real Rasta. lol 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment. Thanks even more for correcting my photo. I’m slightly embarrassed for that, I confess. Am correcting it now… all the best

  6. Fabronnie says:

    Wow, me what I have had from my friends about the Rasta guys, is that they have true love when it comes to love. Me on my research I have found out that that’s true to a greater extent because have seen many fighting over their loved one. They don’t want anyone messing around with their chicks. I don’t blame whites falling for them. I my self am not one of them but I give them credit when it comes to love, care, and respect.
    This question goes to you Musungu, can really marry a Rasta guy? Or have u ever been in love with any?

    • the muzungu says:

      Can I really marry a Rasta guy? Why not? Maybe I just haven’t met the right one yet 😉
      I have never been in love with a Rasta, had an infatuation with one once – but it turned out he was already engaged. He was a real gentleman.

    • the muzungu says:

      I think you’re right: to have the love of a real rasta is a special thing. I had an affair with a plastic rasta – not a real one

  7. Fabronnie says:

    Sure these days we have many pretenders when it comes to Rastas, many of them think that a true rasta must take Drugs, alcohol, steeling from others, being dirty, don’t bath, and many more. Which is not the truth about Rastas. I have had from so e of my friends that a true Rasta is that one with true love, care, and respect to others which is true.
    So you Bazungu you intend to love the Rastas which is not bad but you should be carefully with some who come with other intensions.
    This is another question, why is it that you Bazungu will never give birth for those Rastas that u fall in love with? Tell us what are your I tensions too.

    • the muzungu says:

      I like the word you use: “pretenders” – that is surely what some of Kampala’s plastic rastas are.
      Real Rastas are – like you say, people who aim for true love and respect for others, not all that other bad behaviour. I did a tour of Ethiopia couple of years ago and hooked up with some adorable Rasta guys, one from TZ and one from the West Indies.
      Is it true that Bazungu never give birth to Rasta guys? Have met white ladies who have settled down with Rastas, but maybe it is the Rasta who doesn’t want to settle with the non-Rasta? after all, they would probably want their child to be brought up as a Rastafarian too wouldn’t they?

  8. Muzungu, i must say this is really intersting about rastas…

  9. Bree says:

    Hey Chal,
    I find your diary very interesting. Its funny that i stumbled onto it on google a day ago and I just can’t have enough, reading all your articles.
    This one in particular is interesting because I have often wondered why Muzungu women always go for the guy with dreadlocks every time I see a couple walk down the streets of Kampala. Is there any chance that Muzungu men also fancy rasta women more than the usual Ugandan woman? But at the end of the day a Ugandan man will always be a Ugandan underneath all those dreads. I would want to think that an average Ugandan is one trying to be a rasta, offering a “half cooked” lifestyle of the true rasta (taking alcohol and what not). The Ugandan man without the dreads is one who is refined can be a little of bad boy and at the same treat you right the way you deserve to be treated. What do you think?

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Bree, thanks for taking the time to comment. I love that you have read so much of my blog! Am truly flattered 🙂 Hope that means you’ve signed up for the Muzungu’s newsletter then? I’ve written over 160 articles in the last five years – it’s been a fun journey. It seems that I should give up writing about all the ‘boring stuff’ like travel and conservation and focus on writing about dating in Uganda! This has been my most popular topic to date …
      I don’t think the reverse is true: I mean, I don’t think that Muzungu guys are into rasta women. There is a different dynamic at play.
      Ugandan women are very beautiful, there’s no denying it, and the average white guy (however old or ugly or BOTH!) has plenty of Ugandan ladies throwing themselves at him. He would never get a fraction of this attention from beautiful young women ‘back home.’ Incidentally, this makes it very hard for a single muzungu lady to find a single muzungu man in Uganda. I think this is because Ugandan women are more traditional e.g. they are quite happy to cook for a man, keep house for him and have his babies, without too much argument about who ‘wears the trousers’ (is the boss at home). White women are generally more emancipated and expect the man to help out with children and household chores; I think that makes us a bit of a challenge, so the Muzungu guy would prefer the traditional Ugandan woman. That’s just my theory. I know many, many Muzungu guys with Ugandan girlfriends or wives, but few Muzungu ladies with Ugandan male partners.
      Is the average Ugandan a “half cooked” true rasta? Hmmm not quite sure what you mean?

  10. Hamdee says:

    Rasta or no Rasta, at the end of the day, it all depends what the guy wants and what the muzungu wants. I am personally a reformed serial muzungu hunter who did his thing for 8months and finally quit after i found true love. I got interested in the whole muzungu dating thing after a couple of heartbreaks by fellow Ugandan gals and decided to turn my attention to a muzungu since majority of them value honesty. However all that changed with my first encounter with a muzungu at the National Theater. I was hopping for a serious relationship but she made i clear all she wanted to have fun for the 12days she in the country. So i changed my mind and danced to her tunes for 12 days and at the end of it all i had more fun and great sex more than i had anticipated. I eventually turned it into a habit and i started getting involved with muzungu after muzungu. It was all for the fun and the money. I admit i lived a far much better life as a pimp compared to my previous life as a sales person. All this come to an end when i met Penelope at the airport when i was saying goodbye to one of my muzungu girlfriend who was going back to Austria. I still treated her the same way i treated all my catch but i later realized i was getting so attached to her and every single time i spent with her the bond was growing stronger and she felt the same way. I had forgotten why i started muzungu hunting in the first place and Penelope made me realize that. Two months down the road we were so in love with each other and i decided to say goodbye to my old habits and settle down once and for all. My main point is it all depends on what intentions you both have. If its having a serious relationship then its chances of success are high for as long you the “zing”. If you are both into having fun with other then there is noway you will settle down. Not every Rasta is in for a fling and for the fun. Yes their are plastic rastas out there and i have met many of them who spot rastas for the sake of catching the eye of a muzungu but deep down in there heart they are not realy a Rasta.

    • the muzungu says:

      Dear Hamdee, Thank you so much for sharing your story! I particularly loved the part where you say that you met your Muzungu sweetheart while you were saying goodbye to the Muzungu girlfriend before her … That’s so awful, it’s funny.
      To be honest, it’s much like the situation that you might get in a summer beachside resort in Europe. The local guys say goodbye to the girls after their two-week summer holiday, swear undying love and then wait to greet (jump on) the new arrivals getting off the same aeroplane …!
      You’re absolutely right in what you say – it’s just those ‘plastic rastas’ that I have an issue with.
      I wish you and Penelope all the best for the future 🙂

  11. […] some years later that she had read it!) When I traveled, I wrote long letters home. When my relationship was going nowhere, I kept a secret diary. When I gave up my old life in London to leave for […]

  12. Guy says:

    Rastafarianism is not about dreads or black and white, whatever people say or want to call it. I guess some people just want to have that overwhelming experience as they think with these ras guys they happen to hook up with.

  13. Nash says:

    Its strange how relationship can now be based on rasterfarianism, i don’t think only rastas get demn white gals cos in many pentacostal churches guys have hooked up white babes even when there not rastas ,so i would think it all ends with how one can present themselves. The world has changed alot that even white girls can fall for black men, its love,care and maturity if one can make them happy ,why not? a real man can fight for love rasta or nt ,black or white

  14. Lamech says:

    I have read some of the comments, and sincerely speaking, i couldnt read all of them because most of them are so disappointing. I dont know if some people really think before posting a comment. I personally cant tell you that Rastas do this or that, the world is moving fast, every society has changed, for instance, Christianity. I think it is just so easy to judge a certain group of people because they are few,… all those bad things they are using to categorize Rastas are just individual constraints. I wld also disagree with some of your arguments about who is or not a true Rasta!
    Jah Bless, Selah!

  15. Bida says:

    There are two kinds of guys who spot dreads in Uganda: people who do it for religious reasons (call them rastas) and those that spot them to make a statement not related to religion. The statement could be that they shall not conform to what their parents/pastor/reverend/teachers forced them to be, it could be that they are artists/up-coming artistes (some of them have been up-coming for as long as you’ve lived), it could be that they are bad boys and if they burn you, don’t say you never saw the signs on their head.
    Then there are reason men date white girls. Some date them because it allows them to have as many girls as is possible, since the white girls shall in many cases have to go back home, leaving space for another girl; then there are those that have that stereotype that almost all of us black people have been taught about white girls never having qualms about doing anything and everything in bed; then, there is the misconception that white girls are loaded. It’s partly true since nearly all non-Ugandan girls shall have come to Uganda with pocket money to spend while here, those that are employed here are facilitated in form of salaries and goods/services. These are mostly dated by men who don’t want to work (as is the case in every nation where men/women target those assumed to be able to provide sustenance without them having to work hard for it). It’s easier to tell a non-Ugandan by skin colour so the white ones suffer this kind of man, those with Indian and black phenotypes rarely fall prey to this kind of man; some men are not yet ready to settle down and yet want to enjoy the benefits of a relationship so, they shall go for the white girl who we have come to stereotype as one that just wants to have a full African experience before she jets back home; then there is the Ugandan man who wants to has lived in a world where people are identified by tribes/accents and he wants to run away from all that. The common belief is that her parents shall not want to ask about his tribe, region, and religion and how rich his family were/are/shall be in the future. This is common amongst children who come from families with mixed tribal marriages and are not sure where to pledge their allegiances; there is then the man that just wants something different and white is as different as they can come. Finally, some men have a desire for white, and if it’s dreads that shall get them some white, then dreads shall they wear.
    How is it that several white women end up with these dreadlocked chaps?
    It comes down to those white ladies desiring men who are different from the rest of the flock, non-conformists; them desiring a bad boy, and what easier way to tell a bad boy than by seeing one who is different?
    It also comes down to where those white women go and with whom they interact. If they go to places most frequented by men with dreadlocks, they shall end up with a dreadlocked fellow.

    • the muzungu says:

      Thanks for your input Bida. Your comments about a Ugandan man opting for a white woman to avoid questions about his tribe are very interesting. Although I have dated Ugandans and been aware of which tribe they are from, I admit I have hardly appreciated what it all means. It certainly would not have mattered to me which tribe a boyfriend came from. Rightly or wrongly, Ugandans rarely talk about issues of tribe with bazungu.

  16. GK says:

    Hah! Well… This was certainly an interesting read. I’m constantly (incorrectly) being taken for Rasta. I do have my hair done up in dreadlocks, initially this was only because I’m not a huge fan of barbers and it’s ridiculously painful to try and comb out a huge afro. It’s been years now and my hair has become part of my identity. I’m bi-racial (relevant because I’ve consequently had a liberal/left western upbringing and I’m talking the Netherlands left not the US left). And my interests have generally been a bit quirky and high-brow (As an only child who received JRR Tolkien’s books at 7 years old and has been reading everything that comes my way every since, that is almost inevitable). So much for background/exposition.

    I’ve certainly observed this pattern with caucasian women in Uganda. It seems to be particularly prevalent with the tourist and volunteer crowd rather than the expat crowd. And I have to say I’ve noticed similar patterns with Ugandan women too. I suppose that can be put down to the ‘bad boy’ allure. That said, I haven't experienced it myself. With one exception (Who frankly was a nymphomaniac that cut a swathe through her and my own social circle) , I haven’t received an inordinate amount of attention from caucasian women of any stripe in Uganda. From observation I want to agree with you on all points, but from personal experience, I can not.

    None the less…. An interesting read.

    • the muzungu says:

      Hey GK thanks for commenting. Your phrase “it’s ridiculously painful to try and comb out a huge afro” has my eyes watering in imagined pain (and laughter too!)
      Gosh JRR Tolkien at 7 years old, high brow indeed! I tried The Hobbit at age 11 and couldn’t fathom page 1!
      I think you’re spot on re the pattern [muzungu woman + rasta] mainly being among the tourist and volunteer crowd. I was a volunteer when I feel into that particular plastic rasta trap myself! If I compare Kampala with other countries, the ‘muzungu hunter’ phenomenon is the same as you get at a European beach holiday resort. Tourists come and go in quick succession and there’s a small (but very active!) group of locals ‘enjoying’ them!

  17. Wambwa says:

    Interesting read. Even more interesting reactions….

  18. Mackson says:

    Wow…. interesting..i have never dated a Muzungu before but I know why they like rastas . Its coz they want something different that’s in there nature they are always gonna look for the special, adventure but not the best and wats more adventurous than Dating an African Dreaded Guy

    • the muzungu says:

      I think some of us THINK dating the dreadlocked rasta is adventurous, but maybe we’ve got it all wrong… I feel for the corporate UG guy who said bazungu ladies didn’t look at him cos he is too smart!

  19. likando muhau says:

    I love white gals but I dnt have dreads and am not ugandan but fully in uganda and have a question does this mean I cnt date a white gal!
    I’ve always adored doin so!
    By the way lovely blog!
    Big ups
    Another question? How does one become a part of VSO

    • the muzungu says:

      Of course you can date a white girl – if she likes the look of you! 😉
      If you want to become a VSO volunteer, you will need to contact them to find out if they are looking for volunteers with your skill set. Doing VSO is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Their Uganda office is in Tank Hill, Muyenga. VSO have volunteers from all over the world, working in all other parts of the world! I came to Uganda from the UK, but I have Ugandan friends who are VSO volunteers in Kigali and Ghana.
      Historically, Voluntary Service Overseas placements were for two years but nowadays many are for one year, six months, even three months. Good luck!

  20. […] I love the idea of having a relationship with a Ugandan man but the reality of mixed relationships is harder than I thought it would be, for many reasons. […]

  21. Anteros says:

    Right up there with objectification.

    From a Ugandan man with dreadlocks who is neither a Rastafarian nor a fake rasta.

    People are people. There was a time when instead of this kind of useless discussion, it was about how so many African men like light skinned women or full bodied women and how many African women lightened their skin and or became full bodied. There were many Ugandans with dreadlocks who were not Rastafarians or fake rastas (including Nyabingi – google her and learn) long before bazungu came to this part of Africa and began labelling and classifying people with foreign labels and classifications. Maybe someday you’ll get it. People are people.

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Anteros, perhaps this is a useless discussion but it was a young African man who asked me the question “why do Muzungu women like dating rastas?” and since I had recently been used, lied to and deceived by someone who called himself Dr Rasta, it was quite cathartic for me to try and figure work out the attraction between us.
      More importantly, I agreed to write this article to serve as a ‘public health warning’ to naive women (alas, I count myself as one of them) to try and ignore a small – but committed – number of “Muzungu hunters,” again a term offered to me by Ugandans. I’m sorry you took personal offence at my article – but try and understand the context.
      As I think I stated in my article already, a hairstyle e.g. dreadlocks does not equate to a religion e.g. Rastafarianism. That’s plain obvious.
      No-one likes to be objectified. I get it all the time. In fact, my second most popular article is this one: Are all muzungus rich?
      The reason? Because endless numbers of people are searching Google for a ‘rich muzungu’ – and thus end up on my blog. Now who is objectifying who?

  22. Anteros says:

    I do appreciate the candid spirit in which this article was written, and I also appreciate that it has given me a better understanding of the kind of thoughts going through people’s minds. It puts a lot of stuff into perspective, and has helped me understand certain things a bit better… including a recent interaction I had, which initially left me scratching my head. I was out having drinks when a young lady approached me and initiated a conversation with me. It was dark, and I couldn’t even see her face… all I could see at the time was that this was a muzungu lady, which, didn’t tell me much about the person or their interests or intentions. So, I continued answering all her questions, until we exchanged names and I thought the conversation was ending.
    She lingered around… at which point I gave her a generic cue, “it was a pleasure to meet you”.
    She lingered around some more…
    So, I tried to counter her awkward lingering, “maybe we’ll see each other around sometime”.
    She linger-lingered around even more. It was getting a little awkward.
    Then she said, “maybe you can take my number”. I wondered why she thought I should take her number (I can be a bit slow sometimes lol) but thought it would be rude not to take it if she wanted me to have it.
    I sent her a message later, just saying hi… and she hasn’t responded since.
    I found it all a bit strange and a bit confusing, but after reading your article and the comments, I realise that perhaps she was hoping I’d “spring into action” as the muzungu hunter she may have thought or hoped I was, and was creating many opportunities for me to do so. When I didn’t respond accordingly, she probably regretted giving me her number. I found it all very strange, until reading this. There are numerous other similarly strange and random incidents to which this article adds perspective. So, thanks for the food for thought.

    A former colleague from North America told me she was disappointed that when she came to work in Uganda, Ugandan men weren’t falling over themselves blowing kisses at her and floating across the street towards her. Hahaha! So… “people are people” applies in some people’s minds but not others.

    • the muzungu says:

      “She linger-lingered” – what a great expression!
      Thanks for taking the time to reply. Your story is interesting. That lady was not ‘backward about coming forward!’ It seems she knew what she wanted, only you didn’t jump to please her, so she backed off (my interpretation). Men / women interactions are so complex – even more so when you add the different cultures at play. Endlessly fascinating!
      Have you ever come across the book Men are from Mars and women are from Venus? Highly recommended.
      In contrast to your colleague from North America, I’m bowled over by the compliments (and marriage proposals) I get from Ugandans, although I have come to take them as a bit of a game, more than anything else. Not had anyone blow kisses at me across the street in Kampala. (I don’t think sucking your teeth counts, does it?!)
      Have you read the article I wrote for the Daily Telegraph? “The drama of dating in Uganda”

  23. Anteros says:

    Thanks for your response, too. I had a good chuckle reading it. And that’s an interesting article you wrote in the Daily Telegraph! Lots of insight. Keep doing what you’re doing and all the best finding that one special guy.

  24. Lo says:

    Hi Muzungu! I’m another Muzungo Lady, hopefully staying in Mbale for awhile.

    I’m currently dating a Ugandan man (with short, well kept hair!) who does smoke (and supply me….) and has the body of a GOD. I’m slightly nervous of what may happen, but I have even met his family (before I knew that that culturally means that he wants to marry me!!) I’ve been screwed over by enough white guys in America that I think that I’m wise and can spot problems quickly. I’m enjoying it for what is now and will see how things go….

    I also, I enjoy your blog a lot! Many times when I google something about Uganda, your blog is on the first page! Jebale ko!

    • the muzungu says:

      Hello Mbale! Kale nyabo. Thanks for dropping by 🙂
      Good luck with the romance, nice that you have met his family (and nice that the boyf has the body of a GOD, lol, lucky girl).
      Thanks for the positive feedback on the blog. Fantastic to hear how often my blog is on first page of Google!

  25. Lokiru f says:

    Thanks very much for writing this article. I’ve followed it right from the start till now.
    I’m A Ugandan from Karamoja sub region, only 24 years old. I have dreadlocks because I love my hair. I’m keeping them because I’d love to stand unique from the rest.
    Your article is all about whites dating Rastafarians, and I’ve picked 1000% interest. I’ve always wish to have a white girl/lady for a girl friend that would eventually lead to marriage. I also want your help in illustrating how I would get one.
    I’m am from a nomadic tribe that has always been called the most dangerous tribe in the country. In totally need your help in getting a white girl friend. I’d love her to be a white karamojong, go hunting together, dancing our favorite traditional songs the rest would be teaching her cook and prepare our nomadic cuisines. I’ll be waiting for you feed back so keep us posted.

    Really very very good points from you.

    • the muzungu says:

      Dear Lokiru
      Thanks for the positive feedback 🙂
      I wish you good luck in finding a girlfriend but choose her for her character, not her looks. I think Western women can be quite demanding – we don’t always want to stay home and look after our men; we want careers, we want to travel, we want to study. Every relationship is different of course, but in my experience, cross-cultural relationships require a lot of work. The image you have is quite romantic, the reality would be harder, I think.
      Still, if you find a muzungu girlfriend who wants to go hunting with you, I would love to meet her!

  26. Shelley says:

    Hi I am a Muzungu woman who has been targeted by so called HUNTERS for a number of years and unfortunately got screwed over badly ( i was not living in Uganda but other countries in Africa) but some African men do target Muzungu women and visa versa. Quite frankly i think if some of the musungu girls are looking for some short term fun then why not go with these hunters… but if you are looking for something more serious , stir well clear. I am afraid the perception of white women being all rich quite frankly is racist … why are people judging someone and thinking just because of their skin colour they are rich or that someone with dreads of more flamboyant hair is a rasta? Both equally are quite pathetic. The traditional culture in Africa is for the man to be the bread winner so why are they expecting the Musungu woman to pay for everything and support them… avoid such men. I have been treated like a bank in the past but to be honest, only because i let people treat me this way. The best is to suss out these guys real intentions. This is the modern world and even African is modernising so i believe in sharing whether you are white or black or man or woman. Musungu women looking for real love and respect should give the HUNTERS a wide berth and focus on meetings lovely Uganda men who dont expect you to pay for everything, are respectful, willing to compromise, considerate and loving with or without dreads.

  27. […] one dating disaster too many I joked that “if another guy with dreadlocks wants to date me, the first thing he has to do is shave his […]

  28. matata m. says:

    I think it’s because rastas are good in bed
    Matata m.

  29. Nelson says:

    Very fascinating piece!And a good number of readers’ comments in reaction to it even more so.I have enjoyed reading your blogposts I’ve come across so far but this one tops them all.You are quite an interesting person and I would love to meet you for a drink and chat.I hope to be arrive Kigali mid-December from Lagos via Addis Ababa and take that Jaguar Bus ride to Kampala you wrote about in one of your previous posts(without your experience on that ride though,lol)….enjoyed reading that one too.After a few days in Kampala,I will head to Nairobi on another bus trip(which you’ve also written about and with some trepidation when I think of that 14-hour trip) to visit some friends there after my first visit almost 18 months ago.This time I hope to visit Mombasa also by a bus ride from Nairobi.Hope we get to meet.Cheers!

  30. Mrs Rasta says:

    I am married to a “rasta” for years now and have to say that non of that written there in my case is true. Neither my choice for him fits in ur picture nor our relationship at all.
    Just saying

    • the muzungu says:

      Dear Mrs Rasta
      I’m very happy to read that, and I’m sure that’s the case for many other happy couples too. My article is about ‘plastic rastas’ not the genuine ones 🙂

  31. Priscilla says:

    OMG, dear Charlotte, I just discovered your blog and it’s great, many useful tourism tips. But I really had a lot of fun with this article, many stereotypes, yes, but for sure aren’t we often falling in the stereotyping trap? One day in 2003 in a bar in Kampala (I sound like a mzee saying that right?), a guy told me “you deserve a rasta guy!”, I understand more now…
    Despite trying hard to avoid the rasta category as potential mzungu hunters, I finally married one… I suppose I fell for the non-conformist artistic romance… Unfortunately for me, he shaved when we got our first kid! HE was a fake rasta 😉
    Keep on with the nice blogging!

    • the muzungu says:

      Hi Priscilla, thanks for dropping by 🙂 WOO HOO, you married a rasta! Good for you. I do love a story with a happy ending! Thanks for sharing your story

  32. Jose says:

    Interesting discourse

  33. Martin says:

    Wish I had discovered this artifact of a blog earlier. I couldn’t help laughing. See Uganda isn’t necessarily conservative any longer. We are free beings with a love for adventure as much as you guys. From my own perspective, I think this is a wrong inference. Having dreadlocks doesn’t necessarily mean one is a challenging the status quo. Meeeeh, matter of fact it is a typical behaviour of the obsessive Ugandan conformist. From my point of view at least, I think you have been meeting the wrong people. “Who uses the term ‘rasta’ ‘incorrectly?” We don’t use it anyway. I think this blog is amazing but could you at least always ask a native(an ‘educated one’ and I am unwavering on this point) to review your awesome material before you have it published. As far as I know, I want to volunteer with that 🙂 Hahaha… on a serious note though, contact me. I would work for free in exchange that you may change your perspective of Ugandans.
    All that aside, beautiful blog. Good to see my country projected from your perspective. Loads of love. Let me have this bookmarked! Amazing!

    • the muzungu says:

      Hello Martin, thanks for dropping by and for your positive comments on my blog. I can’t get enough of this crazy wonderful country.
      As for your particular comments, I think you’re right, having dreadlocks is stereotypical non-conformist behaviour. (There’s a contradiction there isn’t there?) You’re also right about me having met the wrong people occasionally – but that’s life, isn’t it?
      I understand Uganda is not as conservative as it used to be – if you live in Kampala or one of the bigger towns. However, it is still deeply traditional on many levels. Even my well travelled, cosmopolitan Ugandan friends are still very traditional in many ways, although it’s not immediately obvious.
      I wrote this blog a few years ago and obviously my understanding of Ugandan society has deepened but actually, I stand by everything I wrote in my original article. Firstly, it was all based on my personal experience and secondly, I had conversations with many people (Ugandans and expats) before I wrote and published this blog. (One of the Ugandans is a self-confessed former serial muzungu hunter. He totally fitted the profile of the guy I dated and explained in great details how such a guy thinks and operates). As you can see from the comments on this page, I’m still having those conversations, and they are endlessly fascinating.

  34. Martin says:

    Yeah we maintain some traditions alright. You have an unbiased perspective of this beautiful nation for that I give you credit. However what I don’t understand is how you draw your conclusions. I know people look at stuff like anti-homosexual bills as traditional, barbaric archaic. Which I hope is not the idea you base on to say w are conservatives, that’d be hilarious, and rude. Everything needs time, I believe that soon or later these laws are going to change, an interesting leap for the freethinker and libertarian such as I. However this won’t happen abruptly, we must stroll on this road with patience. Let me put it this way, we are not conservatives, we are just slow transformers. That is the whole point behind the ‘crested crane’ emblem(With it’s leg in the front to symbolise our movement. It is a slow bird you know!). We are liberal, change just happens slow. 😉
    This statement puts it in perspective :
    “Natura non facit saltum ita nec lex.”
    Loads of love to you.

    • the muzungu says:

      Thanks for the love Martin 🙂
      My first impressions of Uganda were of a conservative society, compared to my own (British): here we have the high importance of marriage, family meetings, church, prayers before the start of a meeting, home-cooked lunch everyday, long formal greetings, and more…. These all painted a certain picture… But then I contrast that with what I see in Kampala’s bars and nightclubs every day of the week, and I wonder ‘conservative? conservative??!” Not at all! lol. Let’s say traditional is a better word…
      Don’t rush to change what makes you UNIQUE

  35. Martin(*Grinning*) says:

    🙂 This is your home too you know. Use ‘us’ not ‘you.’ Who doesn’t love a sister? <3

  36. Richard says:

    Thanks to Muzungu for highlighting the Muzungu ugandan dating. Am looking for a serious Muzungu girl.

  37. Geofrey luyima says:

    I would like to date a muzungu lady

    • the muzungu says:

      Geofrey, I removed your telepone number from your comment. Don’t ever post your phone number on web sites and Facebook pages. There are some weird people out there and you just come across as desperate, and I’m sure you don’t need that kind of attention 🙂

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