Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reconsidering Polygamy

Percy Zvomuya says "Polygamy: It Ain't What it Used to Be." He reflects on having written an anti-polygamy column, noting his thinking has since changed.

A few of the women I spoke to didn't think polygamy was a particularly bad idea. One said she wouldn't mind being wife number two, even number three. It wasn't an economic decision for her: the stylish woman is well to do; she lives in a townhouse and drives around in a Mini Cooper.

In the last week, when news came out that President Jacob Zuma was set to marry his girlfriend, some of South Africa's twitterati defended polygamy; some attacked it. @KingNovaMiu, who describes herself as a feminist, said: "I would get bored of my husband. Many women around the house will keep that from happening. And I'd have my own life. I'm that kind of feminist. I'm down for free will. If the Pres. was practising ukuthwala [the abduction of young girls to be brides] then it would be an issue". And I must say from casual conversations I have had in the recent past, there is a gathering counter current to the prevailing simplistic "polygamy is oppressive" debate.
With gender equality, including the right to marry multiple spouses regardless of gender, along with the freedom to NOT marry, equal access to divorce, and protections against domestic violence, there is nothing wrong with polygamy. Every adult should be free to share marriage with any consenting adults.
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