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South-Africa to legalize Polyandry

South-Africa to legalize Polyandry

South-Africa to legalize Polyandry

In the near future women in South Africa will soon be allowed to

marry more than one husband, in the same way, that polygamous

men are allowed to marry more than one wife. This is according to

the country’s Department of Home Affairs, which is looking at

creating a new marriage act.

South-Africa to legalize Polyandry
South-Africa to legalize Polyandry

The new marriage act will recognize a range of types of marriages

that are not legally recognized at the moment. According to the

Green Paper on Marriages, a policy document published this week,

the current marriage act does not promote equality.


The policy document highlighted that the current marriage legislation

is discriminatory as it does not recognize Hindu, Jewish,

Muslim and Rastafarian marriages.

The policy document also called for polyandry to be legally

recognized as a form of marriage.

Polyandry is a form of polygamy in which a woman takes two or more

husbands at the same time. Polyandry is contrasted with polygyny,

which involves one man taking two or more wives.

The Green Paper proposed three new marriage regimes to bring

equality in marriage laws. One of these options is

a gender-neutral marriage regime.

South Africa’s Ministry of Home Affairs appears to favour the option

for a gender-neutral marriage regime that allows both polyandry

and polygyny. The Ministry wrote:

“The political appetite of the country to confront the challenges of

the current marriage statute will be tested through these options.

However, if Section 9 of the Constitution was to be implemented

in its entirety, option 3 will tick all the boxes.”

South-Africa to legalize Polyandry
South-Africa to legalize Polyandry
However, the option for polyandry seems to have ruffled feathers

and South Africa’s traditional leaders have vociferously opposed

the proposal. According to the traditional leaders, a woman being

married to more than one husband is an unacceptable

practice because it is not of African origin.”

To which the Ministry commented saying: “Ironically, stakeholders

who believed in the practice of polygamy were opposed

to the practice of polyandry.”

The ministry said that though the new proposals may seem radical

and will not be welcomed by everyone, it is necessary for the

country to make the changes.

“This is the beginning of a crucial public discourse that will re-define

the concept of marriage in South Africa,” it said.

“The process will unearth issues that may make some of us

uncomfortable, but will encourage dialogue within the

South African and international communities.”

South Africans have until the end of June to comment

on the department’s proposals.

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