Polygyny and gender : narratives of professional Zulu women in peri-urban areas of contemporary KwaZulu-Natal.
Mkhize, Zamambo Valentine.
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Polygyny has been defended by some men in terms of ‘tradition and culture’ but a cursory observation suggests that it is currently being embraced even amongst women. It seems that some women are willing to allow a husband to take a second wife and even in arranged marriages some women seem content to enter into a polygynous union because they will be answering the call of duty. This study seeks to explore why even some middle-class educated women enter polygynous marriages. The study is different than the previous studies conducted because it focused on women who were educated and had employment that made them financially independent. Previous studies focused on poor rural women who had no better option but to marry into polygynous marriages for a better life because in the past it was only wealthy men who could afford to support more than one family and unfortunately that is not the case in today’s society, now it is just any man who wants to ‘elevate his manhood’ by having more than one wife but who he cannot support. The findings showed women entered such unions for numerous reasons such as love, family and societal pressures as well as desperation to have a higher social standing in the community than a single woman.