I know, I know it’s that process that is very much like sorting through your emails after a long break.
Which one’s are boring but important?
Which must be addressed but only to save you from regretting it later?
Which ones are to be completely ignored until they email again?
Which ones are a pleasant surprise that you previously marked as tedious and to be ignored?
Now take all of that reluctance and take it to online dating. I can hear you groan already.
Ordinarily, I would be side eyeing it too if Harvard Business School alumni, Yaw Boateng and Tunde Kehinde, hadn’t presented us the idea of an elite social networking dating site by the name of “Bandeka“. The site is specifically geared to African professionals in the Diaspora looking for love and recently with the increased profile of the site Bandeka has widened its focus to include African professionals globally, regardless of where they reside.
We were too!
Bandeka can be accused of being elitist, however, what some may see as blatant snobbery instead looked to us as a niche market being catered to. If you feel Bandeka is too “elitist” for your equal oppurtunity dating tastes, we suggest you don’t join or simply ignore the invite (if you are lucky enough to be invited in the first place). There are many dating sites that are less inclined to send invites based on your educational and professional qualifications. the problem is if one had to count on one hand the number of credible dating sites taking into consideration the needs and wants of African professionals, you would probably still be on your index finger or possibly struggling to count up to your forefinger.
This is probably why Bandeka is getting some justified buzz as one of the “hottest African tech start ups” to watch out for in 2012. Boateng and Kehinde have managed to bring forth an idea that focuses on a market largely ignored, the African dating market.
At Diasporan Darlings we like to go beyond the call-of-duty and research these things for you (we took one for the team so to speak). So below we have listed a couple of pro’s and cons of the site we identified on signing up with Bandeka and exploring the territory of online dating:
1. Relatively Inexpensive
Bandeka does NOT charge for their services. You simply apply for an invitation which on receiving you complete and fill out the relevant introductory questions which enable you to browse the site fully. There are no “members areas” that you might normally find on dating sites, which typically charge you extra just to see the “top searches”. All you need is internet connectivity, which for most people is standard issue with their personal mobile phone plans or home internet plans.
2. Offers different choices
Living in the Diaspora, particularly depending on the host country you are living in, your dating choices can appear somewhat limited to what you normally find at your local watering hole. If you are a rhino that only likes to chat up and date rhino’s exclusively then your “pool” is shrunk immensely by your preference. Although there might be an abundance of giraffes, elephants, lions, antelope, if that’s NOT what you are looking for nor do you have nothing in common with what is before you, dating becomes a headache. Bandeka offers you the option to connect with a myriad of men and women from similar backgrounds as yours, with similar interests and relationship goals by simply widening your pool.
3. Easy to connect and less time consuming-
As already stated, the issue with dating especially as professionals is normally tied in with how difficult it is to set up times to meet up or go out and just socialise. Bandeka affords you the oppurtunity to browse at leisure people who might interest you without going on multiple dates. The ease with which you can navigate the site by choosing exactly what you are looking for without having to trawl through a range of unsuitable dates is one of of the most appealing functions of the site. If you would like to be “surprised” the site has a “Surprise me” search function which pulls up a selection of 3 random possible matches. You can do this on your lunch break, before work or even on a weekend.
The other benefit of Bandeka’s online dating community is that you choose at what pace you want to go. When you do finally meet up with someone you have the opportunity to vet that person with your own questions and online interaction.
1. Men lie, Women lie and pictures lie…
A picture says a thousand words and a good photo will get you more responses than you know what to do with. It’s ok to put up a photo where you look amazing but make sure it is a true representation of who you are. Photos are often an important part of online dating profiles, because it is what people see first. People will post up photos of themselves taken years ago that bear no resemblance to the person at present. The lying or fudging of the truth if you like, does not end there. To get more responses and in some cases to deliberately mislead, some people will lie in their online dating profiles.
Not everything can be vetted by the site owners but we feel Bandeka with their effort to only invite the best and almost certainly some of the brightest in their African professional network there is less likelihood of these lies cropping up.
Would you like an invite? Head on over to BANDEKA and introduce yourselves to the team!
Follow the guys on twitter: @bandekadate
Or check out the great topics of discussion they have going on via their blog link by clicking here
Tell us your thoughts, is “elitist online dating” a level of snobbery you won’t entertain or is it a realistic and honest presentation of what young, single and professional Africans are looking for?