Words of Wisdom:

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  • Date Submitted: 05/29/2016 08:24 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 67.5 
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After news of President Jacob Zuma's intentions to take a fourth wife Percy Zvomuya went in search of what polygamy means in today's society.
A few years ago I was commissioned by a women’s magazine to write a column on the place of polygamy in today’s society. I was working, subconsciously, with the premise that polygamy is bad, that it has no place in the 21st Century.
In many ways, it was a politically correct piece, naïve even; it finished with what feels now like a hollow flourish. I concluded thus: “The ringing cry across the continent in the gloomy years of colonialism and apartheid was: “One Man! One Vote!”. The vote has long been secured, perhaps it’s time we changed the chant to: “One Man! One Woman!”.
Perhaps I really believed that then; I am not sure about it anymore. Having written about polygamy, I now pay more attention to the subject. In the magazine piece I interviewed a few women. One told me that she would endorse it if she “could be allowed to marry more than one man. As it is, I feel short-changed by the institution.” Another said: “polygamy is a cop out, it’s a purely male-serving situation with no gain for the woman. It’s a situation that breeds male bravado, lack of commitment and the use of woman as objects of trade and male pleasure. Women who are ok with it are just convincing themselves,” she argued.
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[->0], who describes herself as a...


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