Polygamy makes wives slaves

EXTREMISTS in various religions insist on their rights to polygamous marriages.

How convenient for patriarchal men to have younger and younger wives to do all the cleaning, cooking, producing children and remaining obedient. Quite a power trip!

It is not only in the cultish backwoods of Utah and other American states that slipshod polygamy exists as a way of keeping women and children ignorant and servile.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini also tells of the ritual humiliation of two Afghan wives. The books give little glimpses of insight into the lives of polygamous wives, who are shared property. They are notes in a diary as to when their husband will visit them, deal with their needs, their children. They are business arrangements.

President Jacob Zuma has his own harem and stories in the media so far have focused on him. But what about the stories of the wives? Are they not allowed to talk to the press? They must be a miserable lot.

Aside from their portion of R15million in taxpayers' money, what do they have? Do they know anything of kindness, gentleness or love? Or are they merely moved from one patriarchal home to another, like pieces of furniture?

Men with precious daughters and sisters, who want to see them valued by society, and women raising sons, must speak up.

Silence results in not demoralising and demeaning polygamy and relegating women to the servility of ancient history.

Ingela Richardson, Gonubie