South Africa mulls allowing women to have 'multiple husbands'; proposal creates uproar in country

The South African government's proposal to legalise Polyandry has created a stir among the conservatives and religious groups in the country.

South Africa mulls allowing women to have 'multiple husbands'; proposal creates uproar in country
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New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The South African government's proposal to legalise Polyandry, which means women can have more than one husband, has created a stir among the conservatives and religious groups in the country. This proposal was published in a Green Paper by the Department of Home Affairs to make the marriage laws more inclusive in the country.

In South Africa, Polygamy, which means men can have multiple wives, same-gender marriages and marriage of minors are legal. Proposal of Polyandry has triggered conservatives and religious groups, TV personality Musa Mseleku, who has four wives, told BBC, "This will destroy African culture. What about the children of those people? How will they know their identity? The woman cannot now take the role of the man. It's unheard of. Will the man be expected to take her surname?"

During an interview, Reverend Kenneth Meshoe, the leader of the African Christian Democratic Party, said that polyandry cannot work as men are jealous and possessive. He further added that polygamy is 'an accepted practice' while having multiple husbands is not.

Professor Collis Machoko, an academic who has conducted research studies on polyandry, told BBC, "African societies are not ready for true equality. We don’t know what to do with women we cannot control."

According to a report in RepublicWorld, the Green Paper focuses on wide-ranging changes in the country's marriage laws. It proposes to rectify the current laws, such as the marriage of minors and couples who change their gender and want to remain married without going through a divorce. The document also proposes to give legal recognition to Hindu, Muslim, Rastafarian and Jewish marriages.

Charlene May, an advocate at the Women's Legal Centre, told BBC, "It's important to remember that this Green Paper sets to uphold human rights, and we cannot lose sight of that. We cannot reject law reform because it challenges certain patriarchal views in our society."

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