Polygamy and the big love of President Jacob Zuma

#175. Think about polygamy and how it’s become part of South African conversation. People talk about it all the time – over coffee, on radio, at the gym. Blame it on the SABC or M-Net. From early on I was gripped by Big Love, the HB0 TV series that used to be screened late at night focusing on the family drama surrounding one man and his three wives and the “cult” they left behind in Juniper Creek.

This morning I caught a few minutes of a TV interview with President Jacob Zuma at Davos where the interviewer asked him before a huge audience whether he treated all of his wives equally. Obviously a profound economic issue for world leaders to grapple with. Watching it felt as if the man had been unfairly confronted — but he seemed unfazed, saying yes and laughing heartily.

Then I came across PoliticalKhaya’s You Tube video on this issue. He raises some interesting points: Maybe President Zuma has married so many women because he is actually good at it? Only one divorce in 5 marriages. You have to respect a man who is unfazed by having so many mothers-in-law, he says. These are all points worth considering.

As for my view — my thinking is that if one of his wives could remake herself into a real-life fashion icon and Vogue poster child like Chloe Sevigny (wife #2 in Big Love) when she is not on set (then it’s plaits and pinafores and sensible shoes) and stopped wearing secret socks to official occasions and traded the minibus for a limo we would all get over this a lot quicker.

One thought on “Polygamy and the big love of President Jacob Zuma

  1. As long as all parties agree to the arrangement, and as long as there’s no discrimination against women who want multiple husbands, I can’t think of a reason to oppose it. It struck me recently that many strongly religious people condemn polygamy, yet seem to have no problem loving their spouse as much as they profess to love God and Jesus. Is it also polygamy if the loved one isn’t physically there?

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