Essay on Polygyny in Africa

Essay on Polygyny in Africa

Length: 4276 words (12.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Polygyny in Africa

Whereas numerous African creation myths are supportive of cultural practices such as circumcision, there are very few, if any, creation myths that justify polygyny. There are many proverbs about polygamy. However, proverbs do not have the same weight as myths in explaining why certain things should be the way they are. African creation myths suggest that monogyny was the original practice not only among creator-gods, but also among the original humans. The pursuit of immortality through procreation is noble. Nevertheless, its achievement through polygyny discriminate against women. So, polygyny is a sexist cultural practice that has no genuine religious basis. It is a "post-original" sin as well as a culturally and morally controversial issue. It undermines the original gender equality. Consequently, it should be dismantled through education, commitment to and enforcement of human rights laws.

At all times, humans have recurred to religion, magical and mythical beliefs to explain why certain things are and should be the way they are. So for example, the Dogon and Bambara cosmology explains the practice of circumcision by saying, among other things, that it is a mechanism devised to rid boys and girls of their "native androgyny" or "dual soul,"(1) thereby stabilizing and allowing them to procreate. In other words, "Male circumcision and female excision are necessary to establish the sex of the adult without question" (Taoko, 1975, p. 14). Another religious reason given is the need to pay a blood-debt to Mother-Earth (Griaule, 1965). The Isoko and Urhobo of the Delta State, Nigeria, circumcise women during the advanced stages of their pregnancy because of the legendary belief that, if left uncircumcised, "th...


... middle of paper ...


...hie Bantu-Rwandaise de l"Etre. Bruxelles: Academie Royale des Sciences Coloniales, 1956.

Kant, Immanuel, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. Trans. Louis Beck, Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill, 1959.

Kilbride, Philip L., Plural Marriage for Our Times: A Reinvented Option? Westport, Connecticut: Bergin & Garvey, 1994.

Mbiti, John, African Religions and Philosophy. Second Edition. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann, 1989.

Mill, John Stuart & Taylor, Harriet, The Subjection of Women (1869).

Schipper, Mineke, Source of All Evil: African Proverbs and Sayings on Women. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1991.

Senghor, L. S., Hosties Noires. Paris: Seuil, 1948.

Taoko, J. G., "L’Excision: Base de la Stabilite Familiale ou Rite Cruel Famille et Developpement," 2, Dakar, Senegal, Spring 1975.

Tempels, Placide, Bantu Philosophy. Paris: Presence Africaine, 1969.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Polygyny benefits Society Essay

- Polygyny benefits Society Polygyny, the social arrangement that permits a man to have more than one wife at the same time, exists in all parts of the world. From our present knowledge, there are very few primitive tribes in which a man is not allowed to enter into more than one union. In fact, ethologists now believe that only one to two percent of all species may be monogamous (Tucker). None of the simian species are strictly monogamous; our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, practice a form of group marriage....   [tags: Anthropology]

Free Essays
3142 words (9 pages)

Essay on Trade With Europe And Asia

- Trade with Europe and Asia had cost Africa in multiple ways. The interactions left Africa impoverished, caused the decline of many regions, and completely changed the course of African history. The Europeans and Asians would receive slaves, salt, and gold from Africa, and in return Africa would receive technology and items that the African people generally had no interest in. Evidence repeatedly suggest that Africans rarely received fair trade and usually came out of a trade in worse shape than when they entered....   [tags: Africa, Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, Madagascar]

Powerful Essays
922 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Determinants of Polygyny: A Cross-Cultural Analysis

- Polygyny is a topic that existed in a great amoung of societies that are being investigated by anthropologist. In the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS), 83.8% of societies are socially polygynous; 28% are coded as more than 40% of marriages being polygynous. However, the proportion of polygynous marriage could be small, especially in hunter-gatherer or foraging societies where people gather resources or wealth through collecting and accumulation. Under this condition, polygyny may thus be a facultative reproductive strategy that increased with defensible resources such as the human labor that could be used in food collection and tool making....   [tags: polygynous marriage,reproductive success,polygyny]

Powerful Essays
1812 words (5.2 pages)

Variation in Societal Responses to Polygyny, Polyandry or Polyamory Essay

- Introduction A standout amongst the most challenging parts of multiculturalism is the exertion to suit some social gatherings' needs including particular customary practices that may clash with the thoughts of multiculturalism and popularity based social liberties. Normally, large portions of these practices have religious causes; however, these are not select. Some noteworthy cases are sure right-of-section practices; religious, otherworldly, or conciliatory mutilation and scarring; specific methods for garments or nakedness; conciliatory butcher of creatures; types of polygamy; et cetera....   [tags: multiculturalism, practices, cohabitation]

Powerful Essays
2010 words (5.7 pages)

Underdevelopment of Africa Essay

- Underdevelopment of Africa Underdevelopment in Africa is a problem that has been plaguing the countries all over the continent for a very long time. It has so many negative effects on Africans. It has brought about so many consequences, but of all, the economy is the most affected sector because the economic sector controls all other aspect of the society. Underdevelopment in Africa is as a result of many contributing factors which include poverty, illiteracy, very large extended families, corruption and lack of accountability....   [tags: Africa]

Powerful Essays
626 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on Africa Hunger And Poverty Of Africa

- On a daily basis, first world countries worry about warfare, competing with other nations, and improving technology to better conditions. Despite living in a world where these near ideal countries exist, some nations still struggle with the ability to provide some of the most basic vital needs to its citizens. Africa, home to a plethora of cultures, is one region that has struggled with food security throughout history. Although other countries may overlook leftover food being tossed into landfills, some people, including many Africans, cannot afford such a luxury....   [tags: Poverty, Africa, Malnutrition, Starvation]

Powerful Essays
2182 words (6.2 pages)

Essay about AIDS Prevention in Africa

- During the last three decades, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus have taken the lives of many women and men in Africa, as well as infecting their unborn children. Is there enough being done to eradicate this disease in Africa, and will the cost of these treatments limit those who do not have the available income to afford these drugs. Scientist and researchers have worked over the years to find a cure or vaccine for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, but it remains the most incurable infection in the world....   [tags: Africa ]

Powerful Essays
1625 words (4.6 pages)

African And Public Schooling : Africa Essay

- ... Over 35,000 years ago, Ancient Egyptians wrote books about math that included addition and subtraction of fractions and geometric formulas to calculate the surface area and volume of objects. Also, medicine was first practiced in the continent of Africa. Many methods used today in modern medicine were first used in Africa centuries ago. The earliest known surgery ever happened in Egypt around 2750 B.C. Vaccination, autopsy, limb traction and broken bone setting, bullet removal, brain surgery, skin grafting, filling of dental cavities, installation of false teeth, Caesarean sections, anesthesia and tissue cauterization are all medical procedures performed in ancient Africa before they wer...   [tags: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa]

Powerful Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)

HIV in South Africa v. Uganda Essay example

- The Emergence of HIV in South Africa Much like the emergence of HIV in the United States, the first HIV cases in South Africa were found in the homosexual male population. In 1983, two homosexual, South African men passed away from opportunistic infections associated with autoimmune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). In the months following, many other homosexual men became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which caused the people of South Africa to consider AIDS a disease that solely infected homosexuals....   [tags: Africa ]

Powerful Essays
2281 words (6.5 pages)

Essay South Africa

- South Africa is a nation with a wonderful and varied culture. This country has been called “The Rainbow Nation”, a name that reflects the diversity of such amazing place. The different ethnic and cultural groups of the South Africa do, however, appreciate their own beliefs and customs. Many of these traditions, besides African culture, are influenced by European and Western heritage. The complex and diverse population of the country has made a strong impact to the various cultures. There are forty-five million people; about thirty million are black, five million white, three million coloured and one million Indians....   [tags: Africa]

Powerful Essays
990 words (2.8 pages)