Friday, February 3, 2023

South Africa wants to legalize women having more than one husband

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

The South African government has announced that it is considering revising its laws on marriage.

The said update contains several proposals including the possibility of recognizing polyandry, where women can take on more than one husband at the same time.

Polyandry is a form of polygamy where women marry more than one man as husband at the same time.

Polygamy where men marry more than one wife at the same time is widely practice in many parts of Africa but not polyandry.

At the moment, only polygamy is recognised in South Africa, which means men can have more than one wife.

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But South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs gazetted a new green paper for the Marriage Act earlier this month and one of the proposals is the recognition of polyandry.

The department said that “Activists submitted that equality demands that polyandry be legally recognised as a form of marriage.

Traditional leaders were however among those who objected to polyandry and labelled it an ‘unacceptable practice because it is not of African origin’. Ironically, stakeholders who believed in the practice of (polygyny) were opposed to the practice of polyandry.”

Reactions of South Africans

On social media the proposal has sparked debate among South Africans.

The proposed new law gazetted also wants to legalise Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Rastafarian marriages, which are presently not formally recognised in South Africa.

The document read that “The failure to recognise these religious marriages is untenable and discriminatory. Gender-neutral marriage regime would accommodate both polygyny and polyandry.

The difference is that this option is gender-neutral. Therefore all marriages, whether monogamous or polygamous, could be concluded regardless of the sex or sexual orientation of the person.”


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