Why can’t SA women have two husbands?

Written by on May 20, 2021

One wife. Several husbands. Why not?

The South African government is considering an update to the country’s marriage laws – and, earlier this month, it published a green paper outlining some of its proposals.

Among them was the possible recognition of polyandry – in other words, the possibility of a woman to be married to more than one man at the same time.

Cue in the social media storm?

“South African Twitter just seems to have had some sort of meltdown with regard to the topic,” says Latashia Naidoo, a journalist in Cape Town.

For now, the idea is only under public consultation. But, if these changes were to go through, this would be a big first for Africa.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, not everyone’s up for it.

“Men do not want to share their women or their wives with other men”, says Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, leader of the African Christian Democratic Party.

“Government needs to take people with them in the decision they are making. For now, many people – including myself – think it is a bad idea.”

So, why is South Africa proposing this change? And what implications could it have?


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