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Is Polyandry Legal In South Africa?

Is Polyandry Legal In South Africa?

Is Polyandry Legal In South Africa?
Is Polyandry Legal In South Africa?

A man may have multiple wives in South Africa, but a woman may only have one husband because the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act only recognizes polygamy, not polyandry. Politicians are currently debating granting women the same rights as men, including the right to marry.

How Does Polyandry Work?

Polyandry is a type of polygamy where a woman has multiple husbands, whereas polygyny is a type of polygamy where a man has multiple wives.

Is polygamy permitted?

Only polygyny is currently accepted in South Africa, where polygamous men can have numerous wives. The Department of Home Affairs recently released a historic policy document calling for polyandry to be recognized as an equal marriage in an effort to advance equality.

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Arguments against legalizing polyandry in South Africa –

South African government has acknowledged that polyandry is not illegal or prohibited by the constitution. According to the document, polyandry doesn’t appear to be practiced widely enough to merit recognition at this point in the development of the nation’s constitutional democracy, even though including polyandrous marriages would support the principles of equality, the protection of women’s rights, and gender emancipation.

The government provided the following justifications for its denial:

The following are some of the disadvantages of polyandry: 

  • Contrary to traditional and religious beliefs; 
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Contrary to the dominant patriarchal culture, which accepts or tolerates men who have multiple partners;

  • Potentially detrimental to the family structure;
  • Difficulties with establishing paternity for children who will be born in a polyandrous relationship.

What Forms of Matrimony are Acceptable in South Africa?

In South Africa, polyandry is not permitted but polygyny is. Most people are unfamiliar with the terms, but they refer to marriages with multiple partners, a practice that is prohibited in many nations. Polyandry is the term for a woman who has multiple husbands, and polygyny is the term for a man who marries multiple wives. It is much more typical for men to have multiple wives, and in some African and other cultures, men can legally wed more than one woman. In South Africa, the same thing applies. However, there is currently a political debate in the nation about whether women should, in general, be given the same rights as men. Women could wed more than one husband if South Africa decided to change the laws.

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After the Green Paper’s recommendation that polyandrous marriages receive the same level of legal protection as polygamous marriages was published last year, there were howls of protest from conservative quarters. A White Paper released by the Department of Home Affairs clarified the government’s position on polyandry. The paper concluded that the country cannot practice polyandry even though there is an Agenda to promote equality

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