Sethepu – Polygamy

By Dineo Nyakale

For years polygamy had been something of a norm and regarded it as something acceptable that should be practiced as a part of tradition.

Polygamy was usually a form of growing one’s family as the father would have as many children as he desired. Another more basic reason was in instances where the first wife could not conceive more children and the family had to bring in a second wife so she could bear children for the husband. In most families this practice was kept a secret and to the children of the first wife, the second wife would be known as their aunt and the same goes for the children of the second wife.

The 21st century came to play and all practices were questioned. Sethepu was challenged by the masses as women thought it unfair for a man to think that he had the right to marry as many women as he wanted without consulting them. Women had stood up and said they too are human and they would like to be treated as such. Men antagonised this motion by stating that the practise has been there for a long time and it would still be practiced regardless of what women had to say.

In some cases this practice was merely abused by men being selfish and wanting to prove their masculinity through marriage of  many women. It would also prove that they were wealthy as they could pay lobola for all the women they had married.

I personally think that one has the right to do as they please and if that is to practice polygamy then they should go ahead and do it. The only aspect I have a problem with is that the men tend to use this practice in order to prove their “manhood” but do not actually take responsibility of their children nor the women they are married to.

I do support polygamy and I would practice it as I feel that it prevents men from cheating. I would prefer that my husband has many wives than me having to deal with an absent man who is cheating behind my back. I do know many women would be gutted by the statement I have just made but all are entitled to their own opinion and this one is mine.

If a man would approach me and say that they wanted to marry me and that they have a wife I would strongly consider the offer. In another case if my husband wanted to take another wife then I would allow him to do that. I would at least know who she is and she would now become a member of our family.

Being the second wife for me is not the same as being the other woman, for in this instance you would be part of the family and you would be recognised, accepted and respected for being the second wife. But when you are ‘the other woman’ you don’t bring any stability or pride to the family name but instead you are the reason that the family is breaking apart. Instead of you bringing about a positive change to the family you are the conflict.

If I were to be the second wife for argument sake I would be gaining a sister as I am the only child at home and also I would be able to share the work of the household and there would be someone I could run to for advice.

My church allows polygamy and I am glad that I am part of that open-minded community. Another norm that stands is refrain from divorce as that is something that goes against the vows one has made to the Lord and in front of witnesses. This is acknowledged because 90% of divorce cases are a consequence of one of the spouses in the marriage being unfaithful. Whereas if people were open to polygamy this problem would be of the past.

I say forward with SETHEPU for to me it is life!

2 thoughts on “Sethepu – Polygamy

  1. Yes, I agree. I am also in favour of polygamy. The conditions however must be that the prior wife or wives agree, and that women are allowed to marry multiple men too if they please. Otherwise, talking about being open-minded is only another form of bigotry.


    1. So true… I agree, the marriage will never work if the prior wife or wives hasn’t agreed. At the end of the day it’s all about respect for all those involved in the marriage… This is a union of building a bigger bond. Making three or more families become one. What a sacred union indeed. Thank you for your comment.


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