Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

Zuma’s polygamy is fine by me

Reverend Theunis Botha has taken President Jacob Zuma to task for ancestral worship practices which he suggests are a primary cause of Africa’s failure to advance beyond superstition and poverty rather than colonialism.

The leader of the Christian Democratic Party described Zuma’s traditional wedding to his fifth wife, Thobeka Madiba, as a “giant step back into the dark ages”.

“Very little has been done since ‘independence’ in the way of development, with few that do not rely on handouts, especially from the West,” he said.

It was up to the churches to speak out about ancestral worship practices.

“Political parties doing so, when the churches are silent, are exposing themselves to undue criticism of being anti-black or racist,” said Botha.

Now I am assuming that by ancestral worship practices the reverend is referring to, in the main, polygamy rather than any dress or customs practised by the Zulu people in respect of weddings. If it is the latter I’d suggest he gets a course on diplomacy as many people the world over dress in traditional outfits on their wedding day.

Of course if he is referring to spiritual practices of the Zulu people, who principally follow Christianity together with their traditional ancestral beliefs, I’d refer the reverend to the tens of millions of atheists who today consider any religion as some sort of mumbo jumbo practised by the great unwashed. Accordingly as a Christian if he is in the habit of expecting religious tolerance from others best he start dishing it out in abundance as well.

My money, however, is on polygamy.

The term, in the ordinary course, refers to any form of marriage in which a person has more than one spouse at the same time.

Its application is far more widespread than just our president and includes inter alia fringe Christian groups, Mormons, Muslims and for an extended period Jews as well. During biblical times there were notable examples including both kings Solomon and David. Since Rabbi Gershom in the 11th century prohibited it, it has generally died out.

Let’s face it, which Jew looking across at his mother-in-law right now could even contemplate 4 more of the same? Muslims shouldn’t laugh because they’re allowed 4 wives so they can get there or thereabouts.

Western society generally considers it unacceptable and it is accordingly banned in many of them. In the USA for example bigamy is a crime while in other countries they prohibit people from living a polygamous lifestyle regardless of their being married or not.

In international relations consular spouses from polygamous countries may be exempt from a general prohibition on polygamy in host countries in order to obviate unnecessary problems.

Of course there are many social and psychological issues which flow from being in a polygamous relationship just as there are from being in a monogamous one. That would require a separate posting altogether.

What is clear is that many countries, religions and groups around the world practise this lifestyle and consider it best for them. In the case of President Zuma he seems to be thriving on it.

Okay the thought of 5 mother-in-laws made him miss a step and he apparently slipped and fell during a traditional solo dance at the wedding but other than that he seems blissfully happy.

The Zulu people have grown and thrived under these self-same ancestral worship practices over a number of centuries.

South Africa has definitely advanced a lot in the way of development since independence if the reverend would just stop to think carefully.

If Africa does need aid from the West and others so be it.

Nowhere has it been proved that monogamy has outstripped polygamy in terms of financial achievement or social development.

Which leaves the burning question of why the reverend chose the president’s wedding day to attack Zuma’s ancestral worship practices and to blame them for all that ails this continent?

Surely there we have someone in the dark who hasn’t smiled for ages?

Zuma Polygamy cartoon thumbnail
Zulus against Zuma Polygamy – Wonkie CartOOn!