The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 23, 1998

Philosophy in Africa

Zekeh S. Gbotokuma
Pages 8-16

Polygyny in Africa
A Male’s Post-Original Sin or Rejection of the Primeval Monogyny and A rmation of Sexual Inequality

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.