Animals: Chameleon

Wanderings through rural South Africa

Living the Bush

The men, of course, are free to take more than one wife, she explained. Though the women don’t like it, they must accept the practice. Mbali described a lot of pain, crying, and heartache, but if the man wants more than one wife, it is so. In traditional times, all the wives and children would live in the same compound with the man, but today it is acknowledged that there would be too much fighting between the women. The families live separately, and the man must divide his time between them. While the women must accept sharing their husbands, the men must ensure equality between their wives. “If she gets a watch, I get a watch,” Mbali said, “If you spend two nights with her, you spend two night with me.”