In Cameroon, a king with 100 wives is not that unusual. A fon, or king, like Abumbi II of Bafut, may “inherit” the marriages of his predecessors, and this king believes their practice of polygamy is good. But what do studies have to say on the matter?
In a related report by the Inquisitr, although some may argue that a king with 100 wives is culturally backwards, Abumbi II argues that the “inheritance of all your father’s wives is nothing but a moral obligation.” Abumbi’s third wife, Queen Constance, agrees with the practice, and gives her reasoning.
“Behind every successful man must be a very successful, staunch woman,” she claims. “When you are king, the elderly wives remain to hand down the tradition to the younger wives, and also to teach the king the tradition because the king had been a prince, not a king.”
Abumbi also argues that he can blend modern values with traditional practices in order to create a strong kingdom.
“My role is to blend them, to find the way forward so my subjects can enjoy the fruits of development and modernity without destroying their culture. Without a culture, you are not a human being, you are an animal … To run a kingdom nowadays in this era, you must be educated because things are moving very fast. Like they used to say, education is light, ignorance is darkness.”
Even in Africa, a study about the rates of polygamy does show that even a king with 100 wives is unusual.
“Polygamy is concentrated in West Africa and has declined in recent decades. Geographic variation in women’s agricultural productivity does not predict differences in the prevalence of polygamy, but historical inequality and exposure to the slave trade do. Although contemporary female education does not reduce polygamy, areas with more educational investment in the past have less polygamy today.”
A study from the University of British Columbia notes that “monogamous marriage reduces crime,” since the presence of a large number of unmarried men is correlated with increased rates of rape, theft, murder, and drug abuse. In addition, surveys of 69 polygamous cultures “reveals no case where co-wife relations could be described as harmonious,” which probably means a king with 100 wives is dealing with quite the headache on a daily basis.
Worse, this stress could lead to a heart attack.
“We found an association between an increasing number of wives and the severity and number of coronary blockages,” said Dr. Amin Daoulah, with the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in a statement. “This could be because the need to provide and maintain separate households multiplies the financial burden and emotional expense. Each household must be treated fairly and equally, and it seems likely that the stress of doing that for several spouses and possibly several families of children is considerable.”
Even though you can see polygamy in the Bible, Christian beliefs are largely responsible for the decrease in polygamy throughout the world. The Bible allows for polygamy, but it does not exactly speak highly of the practice. For example, a king with 100 wives sounds like a large number, but King Solomon boasted far more, and yet that was not considered a positive.
“He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.”
Paul of the Bible also put a restriction on polygamy in the New Testament.
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach.”
What do you think about the king with 100 wives?
[Image via Right Wit]