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The Wonders of Polygamy

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Swankie Mafoko

Love is often described as two, two being the operative word, halves coming together to form a whole. Romantic comedies and love songs have sold  to us that we’ll find the person who will make us complete, and then we’ll marry him or her, have children ,grow old together and personally live out the perfect love story. If one were to critically analyse love stories, not that it is ever possible to especially when one is consumed by emotion, one would see that polygamy is an idea hardly referred to and spoken of in the “perfect love story”.

News broke recently that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had signed a bill legalising polygamy, which in some African cultures as well as religious sects, is considered perfectly normal, however the bill signed by Kenyatta allows men to legally take on another partner without the consent of their existing spouse. This goes against what some consider to be the very foundation of polygamy, where the first wife has to agree with her husband’s decision to take on another wife as well as approve of the candidate, for a woman entering into a polygamous marriage she not only marries a man but also makes a commitment to his existing family, which is why the lack of consent is considered a slap in the face, Archbishop Timothy Ndambuki, from the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), was quoted by Kenya’s Standard newspaper as saying, “the tone of that bill, if it becomes law, would be demeaning to women since it does not respect the principle of equality of spouses in the institution of marriage,”

In South Africa we need not look to Kenya for examples of polygamy given that our President happens to be both a practitioner and advocate of the cause, in a time where both men and women are liberated enough to hold major titles in the corporate environment, the nature of relationships and people’s ability to successfully maintain them has changed. Juggling a healthy career, children, friends as well as a relationship with one person can be seriously taxing on an individual. This then poses the question: how possible is it for a man or woman to have a career and the works, and still succeed at having more than one romantic relationship. Given President Zuma’s responsibility as South Africa’s president, and his recently discovered inability and failure at running the country, it would only be natural for one to then question the success of polygamy. How successful is polygamy in the South African context and how well do South Africans respond to it?

An article published by the Mail and Guardian in 2010 revealed that majority of South Africans do not believe a man should have more than one wife. The poll was conducted to ascertain what South Africans expected of their leaders regarding morality and their private lives. “I’m bad at maths, but I believe that God gave us one heart for a reason- to share with one person”, says Kedibone Mantsoe.

What are your thoughts on this? Is polygamy the multiplication of love or simply an act of greed and show of power? Tweet us @BlazonMagazine or simply leave us your comments below.

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