Polygynous Muslim marriages in South Africa: their potential impact on the incidence of HIV/AIDS

25 Jun 2013

Introduction: Polygyny is generally deemed to be incompatible with Western norms of monogamy and equality, and, therefore, discriminatory to women. This article does not debate the merits and demerits of this view, but proceeds from the premise that polygyny as a religious and customary institution, although not commonly practised in South Africa, is recognised both in Islam as religion and in South Africa. Furthermore, given our historical, political and cultural context, it is not surprising that the State has, with a democratic dispensation in place, given full legislative recognition to polygynous African customary marriages and is in the process of doing so for Muslim religious marriages.