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Triple wives, double standards

2010-01-13 11:29

At this rate it's only a matter of time before we as a nation reach a point of marital singularity, when every man can say, "We can't shag women anymore, Mr President, because you married them all!" Soon, Zuma's harem will have its own gravitational pull – which may well be his long-term intention: he certainly seems to be going for all the big ones.

But because I'm obviously an agent of Satan Himself, I have no moral issue with Zuma's multiple marital statuses – or whatever anyone else does in their private life with other consenting adults, for that matter. He could cover himself with whipped cream and get them to take turns kicking him in the nuts until he ejaculates, and I still wouldn't be bored enough with my own life to care about his.

As well as the moral non-issue, Zuma's polygamy has once again raised the HIV/AIDS mast, which has been slightly neglected since we used it as a stick to publically beat Mbeki's regime to death. Zuma stands accused of setting a “bad example” for the kiddies in our virus-riddled sub-continent.

For most of us, sitting in front of our computers and wasting company time, HIV/AIDS is little more than a media construct, an emotive conversational weapon to impress the impressionable with our altruism. So maybe I'm not in the best position to understand how polygamy promotes HIV. Despite my boring, monogamous lifestyle, I can't help thinking that it must be far more difficult to cheat on multiple partners than just one. Zuma still managed of course, and with an HIV-positive woman to boot, but if the president's swelling harem can assist in confining his voracious prick to the limitations of matrimony, I'm sure we'd all feel a lot safer in our beds.

My only problem here is with the South African customary law on polygamy, which is about as female-friendly as a date rape.

It's perfectly legal for a man to have as many wives (but predictably, no husbands) as he wants, but the same doesn't apply for women. So if one of Zuma's spouses decided her ample frame can accommodate another partner – say, for example, an athletic man, maybe even one with hair, who doesn't look like the love child of Dr Fegg and Uncle Fester from the Addams Family, she'd be shit out of luck. If this were a free country, Zuma's wives would even be allowed to marry each other – which, incidentally, is the best idea for a family sitcom I've had all month.

Our customary marriage laws reflect South African tradition - perhaps not yours or mine, but tradition nonetheless. I wish I could tell you that I'm all for respecting the traditions of others, but that would be a terrible lie. This may be because I'm a mostly white, English speaking South African with an Irish bloodline, so there's not a hell of a lot to go on. My starving forebears only came here because they spent more time shagging than farming, and when they arrived, they puckered up and kissed British ass, as if the last 400 years or so had never happened.  So traditionally, I should be fathering hundreds of children while drinking myself to death - not much of an option for a recovering alcoholic who prefers abortions to kids.

Tradition is no excuse for being racist, sexist, homophobic, or clogging up the traffic and making a God-awful racket until the early hours of the morning on 2 January, which, by the way, isn't even a public holiday, you bastards. But if tradition saves a few tasty animals from the incomparable hell of our abattoirs, or merely causes people to surround themselves with obesity, dress up in ridiculous outfits, traipse through the veld and dance like buffoons to repulsive music far from the city limits, I see no reason to complain. I'll simply send them my best wishes, and make a mental note to politely decline invitations to any Groot Trek re-enactments I might receive in the future.

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