Is Polygamy (in Africa) a function of Education?

For the purposes of today's discussion, polygamy is the marriage between a man and two or more women.  I wanted to expand that definition to include men who are married to just one woman, but who have several mistresses / girlfriends / concubines or whatever label you want to use. In other words, I wanted to expand the definition of polygamy to include men who are monogamous on paper but polygamous in practice.  But, I think it would be better to leave them out for the sake of simplicity.

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Assuming that there are three types of religion practiced in Africa (Islam, Christianity and traditional religion),  of these three, only Christianity frowns on polygamy.  The other two types of religion generally permit the practice of polygamy.  For many of us, it was common to find our grandfathers (who lived through pre-colonial times) married to several women.  However, our grandparents were also less educated than subsequent (and present) generations.  Could there be a connection between education and the decision to marry more than one wife?  That's what I would like to know.

Since I have defined polygamy, let me also define 'education' for the purposes of this discussion.  An 'educated man' (strictly for this discussion) would be a man who has had some form of tertiary education, i.e. is a degree holder from a polytechnic, university, or other institution of higher learning.

So, now let me re-phrase my question:  Will a man who has gone through the rigors of tertiary education be more likely OR less likely to marry more than one wife?

Kindly share your thoughts!

I think an educated man will less likely marry more than one wife, based on your definition of an educated man. Because if I give the example of President Zuma of South Africa who has been married six times as an exception, I would be making a mistake since he didn‘t really get a formal education.

So I think ‘education‘ does play a big role. But if there are ‘educated‘ polygamous men, then maybe for them it‘s a sort of status symbol or they have major problems.

I dont think education has much to do with it. my granddad had just one wife and i know a lot of educated people that have more than one wife. i think it all depends on the person

I agree with Lue. I honestly don't think education has much to do with it.

Education helps reform a person's mindset a lot. Some men see women as mere acquisitions, education helps to open their minds to the real realities of life.
What even reinforced this point for me recently was that "How many girlfriends/boyfriends can a boy/girl have?" video
Did you notice the calibre of people that were making noise about owning so many girls/boys?
Or the one that was about what men thought about the sizes of women's breasts. Once you heard a man start speaking fluently with good composure and all, the next you'd hear would be that it didn't matter so much, whereas the ones that started with "ewoo" "shuuu" ended with "it must be big o"

My point is, these people definitely have insecurities and one of the cases is usually that of the absence of proper education.
For me, I'd say education plays a vital role.

to marry more than one wife is a choice people make and I dont think education has got much to do with it.

Based on your definition, I think an educated man will less likely marry more than one wife. First time here. Nice blog!

Haha I for preach but I see MsJB has already taken care of that (and I agree entirely with what she has to say)

Let's just say polygamy is decreasing because men have come to realize the truth in Bob Marley's words: "No woman, no cry" (even though that's not the context the song uses it in... you still catch my drift - one woman one trouble)

Well, if you mean lack of education, I think its a result of lack of it.

Yes, education has a lot to do with it. Or maybe education helps the man to be smarter, so he enjoys the benefit of polygamy, without being polygamous (according to your definition)

I would only say that education is a major influence but beliefs + personal experiences are also a reason for Polygamy. I've seen educated men who have polygamous homes.

lol@MsJB's comparison with breast matters.

Education matters in changing mindsets, in teaching you the basic economics of polygamy. It also means you meet women in an equal environment and are less likely to think of them as chattels.

From my observation, educated men are less likely to be polygamous. Education really does broaden horizons and teaches men to view women, not just as home makers & providers of pleasure, but as individuals in their own right. Having said that, like you pointed out, many men are monogamous on paper. In reality, they struggle to stick to one wife.

I think that any man in this modern times would choose monogamy irrespective of his level of education

By the way, I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award

I think education is a factor in dissuading a man from wanting to marry (at all) more than one wife. However, that same education can allow a man think he is smart enough to keep many mistresses


SO my comment has disappeared


Dayo: In other words, education can make a man 'swing' both ways, right? Makes sense. You can use anything to justify your choices, and education is one of those 'tools.'


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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