In South Africa plan to allow women to have more than one husband
The South African government is exploring the possibility of allowing women to have more husbands – a proposal that has caused quite a stir among conservatives in the country, according to BGNES. The proposal for the admission of polyandry is included in a Green Paper (a government document that any interested person can study and on which he can make proposals, especially before the legislation is changed or new) of the Ministry of Interior of South Africa, whose intention is to make marriage more inclusive. The option is one of several in a comprehensive document, but it has sparked intense debate in South Africa. Polygamy, in which men marry multiple wives, is legal in the country. “South Africa has inherited a marriage regime based on Calvinist and Western Christian traditions,” the document said, adding that current marriage laws “are not informed by a global policy based on constitutional values and an understanding of the dynamics of marriage in modern times.
The document states that the current law allows marriages of minors and does not provide for couples who change their gender and want to stay married to divorce. As part of efforts to strengthen marriage policy, the department consults with traditional leaders, as well as human rights activists and other groups, on key issues. Human rights activists “argue that equality requires polyandry to be legally recognized as a form of marriage.” Officials found that people have very different views on marriage, but one suggestion is to develop a “gender-neutral” marriage scheme. “South Africa can end the categorization of marriages based on race, sexual orientation, religion and culture,” the proposal said. “This means that South Africa could adopt a double system of monogamous or polygamous marriages.” Due to the element of gender neutrality, this option would apply to both women and men if it became law and therefore allowed polyandry. Conservatives in the country were stunned by the proposal. A popular critic of the proposal is Musa Mseleku, a reality star who has four wives. “I am for equality,” Mseleku said in a video in May. He argues that polyandry would call into question the paternity of children. “What family will this child belong to?” Mseleku asks. “Moreover, we are spiritual people,” he added. “Our spirits, our creator, made sure we were created that way.” “It’s foreign to our mentality,” he said. And he points out that “protecting our existence is important for both the present generation and the future.”
The idea that polyandry is not authentically African is also widespread among religious leaders, according to the interior ministry. The document notes that talks with traditional leaders revealed that they believed that “only men are allowed to have multiple wives.” The document added: “Therefore, traditional leaders consider polyandry an unacceptable practice because it is not of African origin.” The Rev. Kenneth Mesho, leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, also opposed the proposal. In an interview with South African television operator eNCA, Mesho said that while polygamy is an “accepted practice”, polyandry is not. “Men are jealous and possessive,” Mesho said, explaining why multiple marriages would not work.
Later in the document, officials said that “while some stakeholders believe in the practice of polygamy, there are those who oppose it. This applies equally to the practice of polyandry. Ironically, stakeholders who believe in polygamy are against polyandry. The South African government is consulting the document by 30 June, inviting comments on all proposals.