Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
LET'S cut to the chase. Polygamy is an outdated concept that has no place in a modern society.
Any argument that relies solely on "it's our culture"; "our holy texts say so"; "our forefathers have been doing it for years" or "you are not one of us and therefore are not allowed an opinion" is an argument not worth entertaining.
There are many things that our forefathers did that we now know were downright wrong or are inappropriate for our times. There was once a time when a man had to be killed so that he would be a "pillow" placed in the grave of a king who was to be buried.
We know, for example, that according to the Bible (Leviticus 21:9), if the daughter of a pastor were to go into prostitution, then she should be burnt to death.
As a modern society we would not tolerate that kind of behaviour (killing of a man for the comfort of a dead king or the burning of a preacher's daughter) from anyone, regardless of the motives of the gods they invoke.
Why then should we accept other arguments as being beyond scrutiny simple because those who rely on them for their behaviour claim an exclusive right to the past?
The argument much depended on by proponents of polygamy, that a current wife or wives must give consent to their husband to take a further wife, cannot stand up to scrutiny.
This argument pretends that the husband identifies a woman he has had no previous relationship with and, based on nothing else but gut feel, thinks is suitable to join his harem.
What those who say that the husband only marries extra wives with the permission of the current wife are not telling us is that polygamy allows for a husband to openly cheat on his wife under the pretext that he is looking for a suitable partner.
They pretend that a wife gives permission to a husband to court other women whom he might end up wanting to marry when in truth the poor woman or women is-are presented with an option to endorse what in other contexts would be called an affair.
Polygamyputs a false gloss on the rest of cheating husbands and partners. The polygamist wants to think that their cheating is respectable simply because it might lead to the mistress being upgraded to a wife.
If Tiger Woods belonged to a culture that accepted polygamy, he could have gotten away with his philandering by arguing that he was trying out potential new wives.
Beyond being disingenuous, polygamy is potentially deadly, especially in this day of HIV and Aids.
While it is possible for the wives to be faithful to their husband, the fact that the husband has a permanently wandering eye - legitimate as it might be - means that he is exposing his wives to potential disease because his girlfriend (who might or may not end up as a wife) is under no moral or legal obligation to have an exclusive relationship with him.
What would oblige this "other woman" to restrict her sexual partners when she is in a relationship with a man who has no such restrictions?
Who do we expect this poor woman to be with on a day such as Valentine's Day, when her beau is spoilt for choice at home?
Polygamy asks of the potential wife to exercise patience when her fate is not in her hands and not even in the hands of her lover. She has to rely on the consent of another woman who cannot be trusted to be objective on the matter. Who would be?
I am aware that there are many intelligent women who enter into such marriages with their eyes open and are happy with their choices.
That might be so, but nobody would say that placing a warning on a cigarette pack amounts to taking away the smoker's right to pollute his lungs. Why should polygamy be such a holy cow?