Critical reflections on polygamy in the African Christian context

Elijah M Baloyi


Polygamy is a phenomenon often associated with African people. In almost all African
societies, polygamy is an acceptable and valid form of marriage in fact, monogamy
has been associated with people of lower social status. Proponents of polygamy have
claimed that the more wives a man has, the more children he is likely to have, and the
more children, the greater the chances that the family will enjoy immortality. This is
indicative of the high regard in which the tradition is held by some African people (men
in particular). The theological thinking of various Christian denominations is divided on
the subject of polygamy. The intention of this article is to investigate the way in which
African people have conceptualised polygamy, and how the Christian church has dealt
with it. In particular, I will explore and present and argument on whether polygamy can
still be regarded as acceptable in contemporary Christian communities.

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