'POLYGAMY IS RIGHT'

DAVOS - President Jacob Zuma yesterday defended having more than one wife, saying polygamy is part of his culture and that those who think their culture is "superior" have a problem.

DAVOS - President Jacob Zuma yesterday defended having more than one wife, saying polygamy is part of his culture and that those who think their culture is "superior" have a problem.

Zuma, who has three wives, dismissed a suggestion from an interviewer at the World Economic Forum in Davos that polygamy was "symbolically a great step backward" or inherently unfair to women.

"It depends what culture you come from. People interpret cultures in different ways. Some think their culture is superior to others, that's a problem we have in the world," Zuma said.

"In South Africa we follow a policy that says you must respect the cultures of others. That's my culture. It does not take anything from me, from my political beliefs and everything, including the belief in the equality of women.

"It's my culture. And I'm sure there are cultures that do that kind of thing," he said.

And he added: "The problem is that when people have their own culture ... think that is the only right one ... the only one accepted by God."

Asked whether he treated his wives equally, he said "absolutely, totally equally".

In other comments Zuma said that talk of a so-called "white flight" from South Africa - which next month celebrates the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela - was exaggerated.

"Nobody is excluded. We are a very proud rainbow nation that is working together. There is an element of exaggerating things." - Sapa-AFP

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