African men wired to polygamy

Men are instinctively polygamous and cannot be satisfied by one woman due to their deep-rooted appetite for variety. They are intended to seek multiple partners, veritably from a biological perspective. More often than not, only one egg at a time is available in a female’s uterus for fertilization.

In contrast, males can ejaculate repeated loads of millions of sperm cells in a given day, any one of which can produce an offspring. Monogamy is a social construct, and even men in such unions are always itching to have more children. So much that it’s their women who worry about family planning.

In ancient times, there were no social formalities and restrictions when it came to the number of women a man could sire. They could enjoy life footloose and fancy-free; that was until civilisation happened and just like that, the party was over.

People started questioning their instincts and desires, and all of a sudden, it became ‘sinful’ for a man to have more than one woman. But, still, many men harbour some naughty fantasy of impregnating as many women as possible.

Monogamy is mzungu concept

“Some people are polyamorous by nature. They have multiple intimate relationships at the same time. It cannot be controlled. They were born that way and should be accepted in the society,” Jowal Jones, a journalist, explains.

Society sought to develop social order by imposing a high ground of monogamy and consequently depicting polygamy as unorthodox. This has proved quite counterproductive because, as they say, forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.

If it were not for that slight error of judgement, men would still be openly polygamous. Presuming that men were in fact meant to be monogamous, why are they still being attracted and tempted by other women after being married or in a relationship?

Monogamy is also very much a mzungu and religious concept even though a few men of the cloth have clearly demonstrated that even the consecrated are not immune to the desires of the body. Some religions, however, allow for polygamy with restrictions, of course.

Polygamy in the modern society is largely frowned upon. The ‘enlightened’ masses are both fascinated and repelled by the notion that a man can have more than one wife at a time. However, there are a few 21st Century men who shunned these relatively recent developments and went on with the ‘natural’ way of life.

Men want multiple women

Men always itch to have an extra woman, no matter how good or satisfying the first one is. Before his passing in late 2010, Ancentus Ogwella Akuku epitomised the ultimate symbol of traditional manhood. He is by far Kenya’s most prominent polygamist. He married more than 100 women in his lifetime and sired nearly 200 children.

His remarkable prowess at wooing the fairer sex earned him the nickname “Danger”. At the tender age of 22, an age where most men are struggling with pick-up lines and falling flat with women, Akuku Danger was an adoring husband to five women. By the time he was 35, he was marrying his 45th wife. It is clear he had it all down to a fine art. In due course, his brood had multiplied to such an extent that he established two elementary schools exclusively to educate them. He also set up a church for his expanding family to attend.

Desire for many children

The closest modern-day equivalent would have to be the recently deceased, self-proclaimed god, Jehovah Wanyonyi. Wanyonyi had 70 wives and 95 children. Beyond Kenyan borders, Swaziland’s King Mswati III who currently has 15 wives is unrivalled in his quest to have sex with as many women as possible, legally.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been married six times. He currently boasts five wives, after one of them took her own life in 2000, and over 21 children. You would think that with so many women to cater to and such a big number of children to nurture, Zuma would have his hands full.

His passions have proven to be insatiable because despite his polygamous status, the flamboyant president has had his fair share of sex scandals.

When polygamists cheat

In 2006, Zuma stood trial for allegedly raping the HIV-positive daughter of one of his ANC comrades.

In 2010, he was embroiled in yet another sex scandal after it was revealed that he had fathered a child out of wedlock with his friend’s daughter.

All the men mentioned above share one common trait besides their predilection for sexual variety; they are all fabulously wealthy. Take Mswati III for instance. Each of his wives has a big palace, special drivers, maids, aides, special vehicles, ‘special benefits’, and go shopping in Western, Asian and African cities whenever the need arises - all this thanks to taxpayer’s money.

In light of that, is it accurate to deduce that having multiple sex partners is a luxury good consumed by the wealthy? Not necessarily. Granted, money has long been one of the most potent aphrodisiacs when it comes to seducing women.

In spite of this, a man at the bottom of the income-distribution pyramid can still get his kicks wherever he pleases. The only difference is that a moneyed man can cheat openly and even marry his mistress with little to no opposition from his wives. A case in point would be our local politicians. They have been keeping mistresses and secret families since time immemorial.

When they die, we always see these families crawl out of the wood work. Money has made them invincible. On the other hand, a poor chap can only act on his polygamous instincts clandestinely because he knows his wife would walk out of the marriage if she found out. Having another family altogether is completely out of the question due to socio-economic pressure.

Ogling in wife’s presence

With the prevalence of mipango ya kando, it is safe to say that quite a number of people are taking their matrimonial vows rather lightly. Having established that men are multi-partner equipped and oriented, would it be too to far-fetched to conclude that polygamy is the solution to infidelity?

Think about it. A man will never find fulfillment in a monogamous lifestyle. He will incessantly seek out new partners and with all these dazzling damsels strutting around half naked it can get pretty hard to walk a straight line. Isn’t it more honourable for a man to go down the polygamy route, rather than the hypocritical one of being married to one wife, and yet being physically and sometimes even emotionally involved with a few others?

The philandering man will cause more emotional trauma to his loved ones if his extramarital affair is uncovered than if he openly chooses to enter into a fruitful relationship with another wife. Any rational woman would agree that she would rather know who her husband is sleeping with, and accept her as a co-wife, instead of him sticking his joy stick in anything in a skirt without knowing its background. And for some women, polygamy serves a more practical purpose.

Some women have accepted it

“Back in my native Bumula village in Bungoma, women support polygamy as a way of reducing house work. Chores such as cooking and fetching water in large homesteads become lighter when more than woman is taking care of them” Nanjala explains.

Apparently, some African women do not mind if their husband brings home a co-wife, even if the co-wife is their own blood relative, such as their sister, as is the case of Ugandan Patrick Oburu. He has a total of 12 wives and 61 children, most of them sisters. He says that when he married the first woman, his in-laws gave him another one. Mr Oburu lives under the same roof with his 12 wives and they all claim to be very happy.

Bite off more than they can chew

On the other hand, women have sexual needs as well. Akuku Danger allegedly divorced 85 women on grounds of infidelity. Jacob Zuma’s second wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli, was accused of having an affair with her bodyguard. These cases should not come as a surprise.

Some of these men are biting off more than they can chew. With so many wives, the women have to wait a substantial amount of time to get their conjugal rights. If that is not forthcoming, even I would be inclined to get it elsewhere. All in all, perhaps we should re-think a lot of what we consider normal and go back to the natural way of life.