"The custom fits well into the thinking of the people, serving many useful purposes."
These purposes are as follows:-
1) The provision for a larger number of offspring.
2) The multiplication of relationships in a community, building social
cohesion and stability.
3) The ability to form alliances and build society.
4) The ability to overcome barrenness by allowing in-family adoption.
5) The defeat of loneliness, poverty and inhospitality.
In fact "since the wives, together with their children, share in all
the benefits of belonging to the polygamous family, they themselves will sometimes pressure their husbands
into seeking additional wives. Some women even regard it as a disgrace to be the only wife of a man."
It is pointed out that African societies cope well with widows, getting
them back into families quickly and simply. "Loneliness is not an indigenous African problem."
Also, polygamy allows for a man's sexual needs to be met during pregnancy
and lactation. This actually prolongs lactation and serves to lower and regulate overall fertility
levels, because for women the period between births becomes longer. Adultery, prostitution and temporary
concubinage rise with monogamy due to enforced abstinence during pregnancy. This behaviour increases
the chances of introducing sexually transmitted diseases into monogamous families.
Finally, while in the West we use romance as a drug which propels us
from attraction into marriage, african marriages build their love on the strong affection which acrues
through time spent living and working together to co-operate in many activities including the rearing