The reboot of the soapie Generations: The Legacy has started a national debate about why men in South Africa can take multiple wives when women can’t take more than one husband.
This happened after Wednesday night’s episode, during which the main character, Karabo Moroka, told her husband that she would take her lover as a second husband.
She said, in a series of statements: “This hasn’t been an easy decision to make, but it’s the only sensible decision. I want to take Zola to be my second husband … My lawyer says I can marry Zola under the rules of customary law.
“You know I love you both, but it’s the only solution. Our constitution allows customary marriage and a central tenet is gender equality. And polygamy is legal so …”
When told it wasn’t culturally acceptable because she was a woman, Karabo defended her stance.
“If a man can do it, why can’t a woman? Culture is now set in stone. It must change with the times.”
In Thursday night’s show Karabo was hit by a backlash from her family. Her lover’s son, Vuyo posted it on social media.
Her own three sons made fun of it, and her stepchild shouted at her, asking how she could be trusted after this.
The issue was just as heated in real life on social media, with women largely championing Karabo’s choice, while men protested.
On Facebook, Apiwe Amantombazana said: “I don’t see anything wrong with this. For the first time, me I am happy with Mfundi Vundla shem. You people can debate it all you want, if a woman wants ten men, then let her have them. If she wants two husbands let her flourish. Just because something is different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong or that it is not supposed to be done.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter, many called for Karabo to be made president and used Jacob Zuma as an example of unfairness. @Sefularo_Keamo tweeted: “Zuma can have all the wives he wants, but Karabo can’t even have a second husband. Hayi. Not fair.”
Some men threatened to boycott the soapie if Karabo got her wish. @Morena_Thinane said: “This whole Mfundi Vundla play #Generations, the saga between Tau and Karabo it’s starting to make women forget their role in the society.” THE STAR