Submitted by Yardbroom
The recent marriage of South African President Jacob Zuma (67) to his fifth wife Tobeka Madiba (36) has caused the raising of some eyebrows even in South Africa. President Zuma has three wives at present, when numbers are involved and they have a significant impact on what is written they should be correct. He had two other wives but divorced Nkosazana Dlamini in 1998 and the other Kate Mantsho committed suicide in 2000 after taking a fatal overdose, she described her marriage to Zuma as “24 years of hell”. Her remarks are not meant here as an indication of my feelings on polygamous marriage, they have been added as reported comment.
To those who like detail his other wives are Sizakele Khumalo married in 1973 and Nompumelelo Ntuli married in 2008.
I have no wish to lay false trails but it has been reported that his “fiancée” Gloria Bongi Ngema who has a three year old son with the President has already brought (wedding gifts) to the Zuma family often a precursor to marriage…other celebrations might be soon afoot.
For those with a desire to have terms right, I am aware that Polygamy is one man having multiple wives and Polyandry is a practice where a woman is married to more than one man at the same time. However, I am using Polygamy to mean one man having multiple wives because of general usage.
To those who think Polygamy is not suitable for a modern western society particularly a President. Zuma will say he respects tradition, he is a Zulu with a strong support base in his country, particularly in rural areas. Are we suggesting that because Zuma wearing animal skins danced and celebrated as his ancestors would have done, he is doing something undignified for a President; or is it the number of wives being married to at the same time?
May I add Polygamy is a right enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution.
For those who have reservations about Polygamy and there are many who will, you should be able to make a strong coherent case that can stand up to detailed examination.
A “quick skip” only for background through other cultures, periods and societies throws up some interesting observations. Ancient Egypt: “Marriages were most often between people of the same social class, but there seems to have been little regard to race or even nationality. It was not unusual for a northern Egyptian to marry a Nubian, or someone even from another country”…. “Among common people, polygamy may very well have existed as it obviously did in the royal class, but if so it was rare. We know from excavations such as Deir El Medina that housing of common people conformed to monogamy rather than Polygamy”
[ Marriage in Ancient Egypt: Mark Andrews]
Is it possible that financial restraints could have influenced the decisions taken by common people?
I will touch ever so lightly the hem of those with religious leanings as they know “Abraham had 3 wives, Sarah, Hagar and Keturah; Jacob had 4 Leah, Rachel, Bilah, and Zilpah; “David King of Israel” had at least 18 wives Michal, Abigail, Ahinoam of Jezreel, Eglah, Maacah, Abital, Haggith and Bathsheba and 10 women/concubines; Esau had 3, Judith, Bashemath and Mahalath”. I will not dwell on Solomon he had 1,000 wives Sidontans, Tyrians, Ammonites and Edomites.
I have no substantial discourse to make regarding Solomon – or others mentioned above – I refer you to 1 Kings 11: 3 for that.
With a view to modern society some Mormons even today practice “plural marriage” using the 1886 John Taylor revelation as their authority there is a view such practice is illegal in America…I will let that legal aspect rest.
In an article in the Daily Mail, England, dated 18th April 2007 it was reported: “Polygamous husbands settling in Britain with multiple wives can claim extra benefits for their “harems” even though bigamy is a crime in the UK, it has emerged”… “Opposition MP’s are demanding an urgent change in the Law claiming that the Government is recognising and rewarding a custom which has no legal status and which is “alien” to this country’s cultural traditions”.
Muslim Law to which the majority of the above adhere allows a man up to four wives but he must be able to show that he can treat each woman equally and produce a separate home for each one.
Personally it is not for me to condone or condemn in this submission, I will leave the last words to Buddhism: “It is said in the Parabhava Sutta that a man who is not satisfied with one woman and seeks out other women is on the path to decline.” Bloggers might have a different view.