Outcry over South Africa’s multiple husbands proposal

Outcry over South Africa's multiple husbands proposal
Source: GETTY IMAGES
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: A proposal by the government of South Africa to legalise polyandry – when a woman has multiple husbands at the same time – has sparked protest from conservative quarters.

This doesn’t surprise Professor Collis Machoko, a renowned academic on the topic.

In an interview with BBC, he said: ”The objections are about control. African societies are not ready for true equality. We don’t know what to do with women we cannot control.”

South Africa has one of the world’s most liberal constitutions, embracing polygamy for men and same-sex marriages for all.

TV personality and Businessman Musa Mseleku – who has four wives – is among those opposed to polyandry.

The South African reality TV star said: “This will destroy African culture. What about the children of those people? How will they know their identity?”

He added: “The woman cannot now take the role of the man. It’s unheard of. Will the woman now pay lobola [bride price] for the man. Will the man be expected to take her surname?”

Professor Collis Machoko researched polyandry in his country of birth – neighbouring Zimbabwe. He spoke to 20 women, who have multiple husbands, and 45 co-husbands who practised it, even though such marriages are not legally recognised and socially taboo.

“Polyandry, because it is shunned by parts of society, has been forced underground. The secrecy is similar to the one found in freemasons,” the professor said.

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