Modern poly gaining traction in South Africa
The small community of polyfolks in South Africa, a country of 49 million, has shown how dedicated people can spread a compelling idea.
Their last media splash was in the South African edition of Cosmopolitan. Now City Press, a mass newspaper (readership 2.5 million) aimed at the country's 80% black population, presents a fine poly-profile article by the same writer. It covers all the right bases.
Modern, egalitarian, gender-neutral polyamory is a noteworthy introduction to Africa for its contrasts to traditional patriarchal polygamy, an ancient fact of life in many regions. South African President Jacob Zuma, for instance, has four wives. This is legal and is generally considered acceptable or only mildly embarrassing.
South Africa is the only country on the continent with a visible polyamory movement as far as I can tell.
Poly puts the kettle on
By Eugene Botha
Lifestyle for people who want a whole lotta love gains a whole lotta traction.
Imagine being a married man with a boyfriend on the side, a girlfriend you and your wife share and a clutch of casual lovers -- and everybody is happy.
That’s what 31-year-old Capetonian Arno Breedt has as a polyamorist, a lifestyle choice made by an increasing number of South Africans.
Polyamory means “many loves”, and is an alternative relationship model in which followers have more than one loving, committed sexual relationship at a time, with the full knowledge and consent of all involved.
“Some of the core values of polyamory include honesty, openness, absolute equality of the sexes, sanctity of personal boundaries and being encouraged to make up your own damn mind about your own damn body and not being dictated to by society,” says Breedt.
His wife of eight years, Christel Breedt (28), says it works for them -- and many others.
“There is certainly a sizeable non-monogamy contingent in Cape Town and we have been receiving increasing interest from people over time,” she says.... “Arno and I prefer to have more than one partner and we are secure enough in our commitment to allow each other this kind of freedom.”
Raam Naicker, a moderator of South African online polyamory group Zapoly, agrees that polyamory is on the rise in the country but has been well hidden.
“Many people will not openly admit to it for fear of retribution,” he says.
Christel says most of those who subscribe to the group’s mailing list are over 35, although there are some younger subscribers....
...But it doesn’t work for everyone, with jealousy being the main reason many opt out.
“Everyone always asks first about jealousy, but surprisingly that is not much of a problem for us,” says Christel.
“When it does happen it is usually because some need has been left uncommunicated and thus unmet. Communication really is the central core of polyamory.”
Read the whole article (July 29, 2012).
Update: The article got Christel and Arno a spot on the Redi Tlhabi radio talk show on August 31, airing on TalkRadio 702 in the Johannesburg area and 567 CapeTalk in Capetown. "We definitely kicked ass!" says Christel. Listen here.
Labels: South Africa