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n South African Journal of Cultural History - In defence of polygamy : the case of Gunnar Helander

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Abstract


Te midde van talle historiese kultuurverskille wat die strewes van sendelinge in Suider-Afrika en elders gekortwiek het, het inheemse veelwywery 'n dominante rol gespeel. In die vyftigerjare van die twintigste eeu het die ervare Sweedse sendeling, Gunnar Helander, gepoog om hierdie nimmereindigende kwessie op te los. Teen die agtergrond van ervarings wat hy oor 'n tydperk van agtien jaar in Zoeloeland en aan die Witwatersrand opgedoen het, het hy in publikasies in sowel verhalende werk as vakliteratuur sy saak vir die voorwaardelike aanvaarding van poligame huwelike gestel. Binne die verband van Suid-Afrikaanse kultuurgeskiedenis was Helander se pleidooi 'n verdere ontwikkeling van die argument wat reeds 'n eeu tevore deur die omstrede Anglikaanse biskop, John Colenso, aangevoor is.

Indigenous polygamy loomed large among the many cultural differences which historically vexed missionary endeavours in southern Africa and elsewhere. During the 1950s the seasoned Swedish missionary Gunnar Helander sought to resolve this perennial issue. Against the backdrop of eighteen years' experience in Zululand and on the Witwatersrand, he presented in both fictional and non-fictional publications his case for qualified acceptance of plural marriage. Within the context of South African cultural history, Helander's argument was a further development of that propounded by the controversial Anglican bishop John Colenso a century earlier.

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/content/culture/20/2/EJC30666
2006-11-01
2016-12-05
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