Sunday, January 3, 2010

South African President's Three Wives

South African President Jacob Zuma has just gotten married to his third wife. No I do not mean only that he has been divorced twice. Along with the two ex wives that he divorced, he is currently married to three women at once. The Guardian reports as follows on President Zuma's interesting lifesyle.

"Jacob Zuma, the polygamous president of South Africa, is to gain his third first lady in a traditional Zulu wedding on Monday.

Zuma, 67, will marry Tobeka Madiba in a private family ceremony at his homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal province, the president's office confirmed. Madiba, 36, will be Zuma's third current wife and his fifth marriage overall. He is also reported to be engaged to another woman.

The Zulu tribe, the biggest ethnic group in South Africa, practises polygamy by tradition. Zuma once told an interviewer: "There are plenty of politicians who have mistresses and children that they hide so as to pretend they're monogamous. I prefer to be open. I love my wives and I'm proud of my children."

The Zulu tribe to which President Zuma belongs openly practices polygamy as a part of its tradition. It is rumoured that some Western European countries consider a mistress a prerequisite for holding high office. Then there is cereal monogomy. That's when a guy eats breakfast with his girlfriend and dinner with his wife.

On a more serious note, even if one rejects the religious arguments for monogomy, there are amoral pragmatic reasons for supporting monogamy. If wealthy men take extra wives because they are able to, this creates the potential for the creation of a celibate underclass of men who are too poor to get married. This makes an entire class of young men who are likely to be recruited to radical political movements or criminal enterprises in hope of accumulating enough wealth to become marriage material. It also creates a shortage of women for marriage which can be further aggravated by prostitution. The likelihood of the celibate underclass of men turning to prostitutes and other high risk activities as a source of respite from their celibate state is a distinct possibility.

Monogamy has the potential of being socially progressive. Not only does it increase the likelihood of almost all who wish to get married being able to do so, it also forms the basis of some sort of equality between men and women.

The Jacob Zuma story is at first glance an interesting human interest story. But further examination shows that there are social repercussions to the individual choices we make. China and India, for instance have legalised abortion as a part of their strict family planning programs. Now both countries have a serious gender imbalance, in which there are far fewer females than there would normally be. Zuma is certainly entitled to follow the traditions of the Zulu nation. But everything we do has repercussions that extend beyond the four walls of our homes. It's something to think about. Do I want a school bus for my wives and kids? No thanks. Soon, President Zuma will have four mothers in law. Now that is a built in deterrent. Sphere: Related Content

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