The Citizen (Gauteng)

A right royal rip-off?

- Cliff Buchler

Zulu Queen Mantfombi Dlamini’s death has been extensivel­y covered, warts and all – especially the ugly warts seeking power and financial gain. These indigenous monarchies usually operate quietly, doing their own thing, unlike the British where they’re part and parcel of the nation at large.

It has also highlighte­d something of which unenlighte­ned South Africans are unaware. The cost of running these royal houses is born by taxpayers.

But what I personally find intriguing is another underplaye­d fact. Polygamy, outlawed in most countries, is a way of life; also putting great strain on the fiscus. This aside, is polygamy a good or bad thing?

There’s still one religious fraternity in the US actively engaged in polygamy. This despite it being against the law.

Perhaps one reason they’ve been left in peace is that they’re an honest, hardworkin­g lot. And, according to a writer who researched the group, wives are carefully selected, each with a particular interest and expertise.

Among them is a cook, or seamstress, or cheese maker, or teacher. So, not all are partial to bedtime stories all the time – thus giving the husband enough breathing space and energy to tackle the multitudin­ous tasks called for in a community having to survive on its own steam. Farming is a major contributo­r.

Here’s the rub. Family planning is top priority. How many children can they cope with? How many can they financiall­y afford to feed and educate? How many can comfortabl­y be housed in the available space?

Here sexual restraint and discipline are called for, so hubby can’t let rip when the mood takes him.

In a nutshell: a balanced lifestyle that flies in the face of critics who fail to see the serious shortcomin­gs in their own so-called normal societies. The words rape, murder, robbery are not part of their vocabulary – no wonder the absence of law enforcemen­t.

This can’t be said for polygamy as we know it.

Evidently, here the husband, or king, calls the tune and dictates terms as to the number of wives he wants, and measures his sexual prowess by the number of children each wife conceives.

Comparing the two cases, which is more acceptable? A nobrainer?

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