I was listening to Kgosi Mosielele arguing his polygamy stance on Gabs FM, recently. He just never stops. I suspect he wants us all in a harem. Ha!
Look, polygamy isn’t entirely bad. Most people criticize polygamy based on their own personal preferences.
I have overheard some people arguing that polygamy would increase HIV/AIDS.
Being polygamous doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is promiscuous. Polygamy doesn’t cause HIV. Sleeping around, having unsafe sex with multiple concurrent partners especially if you don’t know your status, is what leads to HIV infection.
The problem is that in our society, there’s a tolerated culture of promiscuity. Some people seem to think they can sleep with everyone! If a man decides to marry two women, and only sleeps with them, there would be no problem. The problem is that some people are never satisfied. Look at Mswati; for example, he seems to want a wife for every hour of the day!
The other argument is that polygamy disempowers women. Not necessarily. Some smart and educated women are in polygamous marriages by choice.
Everyone does what they think is best for them, informed by respect for culture or their preference.
Polygamy is an old practice rooted in many different cultures globally. Even in Setswana culture, if a woman couldn’t conceive, or she was ill and could not offer her husband conjugal rights, the couple would decide to bring in a younger woman to help.
Times have changed, but the essence of humanity has not. Some people are still polygamous in a way, considering how much they cheat.
A responsible man treasures stability, respects and takes care of those he purports to love and cherish. Why not make your “side-dish” official by marrying her?
Some of our men are irresponsible and lazy, that’s why they would never take in more than one wife. Ke bo maja a itshutla. They want to ‘hit and run’. If more of our men were honest and responsible, maybe polygamy would work.
But unfortunately, eish…
The interesting aspect about polygamous marriages is that they allow some women to share a resourceful man of high status.
I once read a quote somewhere, which said: ‘The maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share in a first-rate man to the exclusive possession of a third-rate one.”
Polygamy is not necessarily fair. For example, given a 50-50 sex ratio, a monogamous society virtually guarantees a wife for every man. Polygamy on the other hand means that “third-rate” men might not find a wife. If they are lucky enough to find one, they will likely be plain and simple.
The most desirable women would have become second, fourth or tenth wife to a wealthier man!
My friends often ask me when I'm getting married, and I assure them that if I’m not married by 30, ba mphekole. I don’t think women should stay single and unmarried. Human beings are co-dependent creatures, and on a personal front, one needs a partner, confidante, lover and friend.
Would I enter a polygamous marriage? Maybe, maybe not…
Some time last year, I was in Johannesburg, and on a night out I met an older gentleman who proposed love to me. He told me that he’s a polygamist with two wives, and looking for a third wife. After he left, I was informed that he’s very wealthy and his wives are highly educated career women. One reveler convinced me to say ‘Yes’ him. “U ne imali! O hamba ne Porshe!” he said. The catch is money, I thought.
Which brings me to the point that financial security is important in marriage. Most marriages end because of financial woes. There’s nothing romantic about poverty. Even if you have buckets of love spilling from your heart, love will not pay the bills!
How can a man who cannot afford one wife marry two?
On the flipside, almost all the Batswana women I asked about polygamous marriage, responded in anger. It’s hardly surprising.
Polygamy among Batswana women would probably be a disaster. Firstly, some Batswana women are too insecure.
Imagine if a younger prettier lady were to enter such a woman’s home as a second wife; she’s bound to make the poor woman’s life a living hell!
Secondly, there’s always drama and “issues” with some women – they are a vexation to the spirit. There would never be peace when one shares a husband with such a type of woman. Thirdly, when it comes to men, some women transform into fiery territorial creatures. Baa boulela tota!