The Evolution of Online Dating Culture in Africa

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The Evolution of Online Dating Culture in Africa
Written by editor

In the African traditional society (ATS) there was nothing close to a couple going on a date publicly or in private. Men and women would gather in the company of their parents where women would choose the most eligible partners for marriage depending on their social and financial status.

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When a woman identified her suitor, they could only meet during social gatherings like weddings, initiation ceremonies, and funerals, games, and sports among others, or in the homestead. Dating was more private and without emotional attachments until marriage, there was no such thing as going out publicly.

However, this culture has begun to change over the last few years where couples can now display affection publicly though in some countries like Tanzania holding hands in public is still frowned at. Nowadays, relationships have become even more casual that there are no talking stages anymore, where people can meet in the morning and get intimate in the afternoon.

The elephant in the room now being technological dating where people meet on dating sites that lead to casual and serious relationships, marriages, and also the dawn of biracial marriages.

 With the rise of information and technology, we have gotten to witness people from all walks of life including celebrities get engaged online, a norm that we have borrowed from the westerners.

Online platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp have become avenues where young couples get to communicate because of distance, convenience, and security as opposed to the ATS where people lived in small communities and married in them.

The first generation of mobile applications in Africa targeted banking and health but now applications target economic and social lives including companionships where people are now visiting dating websites to connect with other single people for love. The dating websites are slowly being overtaken by mobile dating applications with the most popular dating sites in Africa discussed below:


This dating application is popular in South Africa and East African countries especially in Kenya Tinder allows users to share their real photos as they chat with their match. Active users get up to 100 matches in weeks on the Los-Angeles-based application.


Grindr is for men who prefer to date privately. The application offers gay men an alternative way of meeting and building relationships since most African societies are conservative about same-sex relationships and marriages. The developers of the app claim it is the safest gay dating app in Africa with Kenya being its top user.


This application has a feature of the five minutes video dates making many people attracted to it with more than 13 million users in the world. You can have a virtual date with your match for five minutes on the application. Of the African countries using the app, Kenya is leading with more active users. An alternative to SpeedDate is Omegle where users can opt for text-based chat instead of video calls. CooMeet is another popular dating service in the industry.


The dating app is popular among internet users who use dating sites to have fun and are not interested in committed relationships or meeting lifetime partners. Users get to vote for the best members to participate in fun competitions on the app though most users create numerous pseudo accounts for the fun of it.


Lovoo is an extension of the German dating website where users get to connect with other users in their locality. The application is among the top-grossing social networks in Africa


The application has an engine that matches people according to behavior and connects them to their perfect matches and has more than 25 million users in the world. Among the highest –gross apps in Kenya, it is ranked third 


Among the most popular social networking applications, OkCupid ranks highest because it gets more than three million new visitors every month. With South Africans as the most active users of dating applications in the continent, therefore, making the most out of OkCupid, the app has also widely spread to East and West African countries.

As you can see, the current African generation’s intentions for dating have evolved as some go to these dating sites to look for a company, pass time, meet individuals with similar personalities, serious relationships, and for some just intimacy when marriage was the main goal for dating in the ’90s.

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