The First Wife: A Tale of Polygamy

by Paulina Chiziane

As the late, great Aretha Franklin sang: 'Sisters are doin' it for themselves.
Standin' on their own two feet. And ringin' on their own bells.'

And so they are, - all of Tony's five wives led by the formidable first wife Rami. Go Rami! The story opened my eyes to culture I know very little about - polygamy. Would I like to be one of many wives? Not sure. However if this is the life you are born into then you may expect nothing less.


I take his arm and drag him along with me, and he is so weak that he obeys my every command. I get in the driver's seat of his blue car. I know how miserable he's feeling. I know men and their thoughts. They can't abide the idea of being abandoned. I know some who became impotent, who went mad or ended up alcoholics, just because they were cuckolded on a whim. Women are stronger, they overcome desertion with greater courage. They're exchanged each day. Betrayed. Seduced. Abandoned with babies in their arms. Bought. Beaten each day, but they resist.
Translated by David Brookshaw


Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

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