Au contraire, Ms Funlayo, while I appreciate the clarification, the distinction being made between polygamy and philandering in terms of my grandfather does overlap and blur that diagnosis.
‘Papa’ as we affectionately call him was a wealthy architect in his day. There are town squares, shops and many housing schemes that still stand today as monuments to his expertise and notoriety.
Every woman including my own grandmother who had 6 of his children knew that he was married and knew of his other children. It was only in his later years that he refused to divulge that information to his trysts — women who had only one child for him which conspicuously transpired towards the last years of his life. In fact there are a few children from other relationships that stayed with my grandmother as if they were hers and this was common with the other earlier and willing women as well. Most of them knew of each other.
I get a mixed sense of opportunism and dangerous pride from them as being chosen by such a prominent man back in those days where economic empowerment and self-confidence were in very short supply in an impoverished yet colonized country.
As modernity evolved our way of thinking based on lived experiences and its traumas these women made sure that these choices were not be accepted nor tolerated for their offspring, and Momma (my grandmother) made sure of that. Her children even voiced their disdain and opposition to that because f its hard felt effects. She never had a relationship outside of this man and wanted to set this aspect of her ethics as an example and guide for her children.
So this devolution, if I may, of making the choice to engage in unnecessary drama and conflict (as Marley K. has shared as an example in her experience) that appears less than civil should not be conflated with infringing on the rights and freedoms of those who choose this lifestyle. Instead it should only be seen as a critique deliberated upon about such choices knowing that we are all interdependent as society to our precarious existence and persistence to humanity.
I have gotten over the shame aspect of my lineage — obviously with my openness, I understand that the happenstance is how I got here, and its consequentialism is apart of who I am. I am also proud and fortunate of the familial relationships that have spawned from it. So in no way am I being obtuse in my thinking towards polygamy it has its liberating, self-serving pros and most definitely its self-defeating, ill-advised cons.
I look forward to your next piece.