POLYGAMY IN FOCUS

When President Jacob Zuma moved into Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria with his three wives, polygamy came under the spotlight.

When President Jacob Zuma moved into Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria with his three wives, polygamy came under the spotlight.

This motivated the compilation of the latest volume of "I" Stories - The heart of the matter, a volume of stories by partners and children of polygamous marriages. The book explores the controversial topic from diverse perspectives.

Individuals share their painful experiences as well as the advantages of polygamy in an honest, simple manner.

The "I" Stories is produced by Gender Links in association with the Commission on Gender Equality, the Southern African HIV and Aids Information Service and the Gender and Media Diversity Centre.

Sowetan tracked down a happy family of Anthon Ndzhulula from Mozambique. Ndzhulula took a second wife when bad things were happening to his family: three of his five children died, his business was falling apart and he was having affairs outside his marriage.

"I consulted some elders and traditional healers and they explained that things were not going well for me because my father did not pay lobola for my mother.

"They suggested I take a second wife and give her my mother's maiden name."

He said that he discussed this matter with his first wife and she agreed.

Zabele Ndzhulula, the first wife, said: "Although I always knew my culture permits polygamy, I never thought I would share a man with another woman.

"Now that my husband has a second wife, he sometimes gives her more attention, but I accept this because I gave him the go-ahead."

Norah Masingi, the second wife, said she came from a polygamous family herself so the relationship is normal for her.

Colleen Lowe Morna, the executive director of Gender Links South Africa, said: "The book was published because polygamy is a complex issue and we wanted to hear from those directly involved.

"Of course Gender Links looks at the issue from an equality perspective and practices such as polygamy continue to render women unequal."

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