Christian Polygamous Marriages in Zimbabwe, Women’s Experiences and the Dual Scourge of HIV/ Aids and Poverty: The Case of ‘Apostles’/ Vapostori of Marange

Alex Mutseta


This article interrogates the practice of Christian polygynous marriages in Gutu district among the vapostori of Marange sect apropos poverty, HIV and AIDS. The study assesses the perceptions of the vapostori vis-à-vis polygyny, effects of their lived experiences and the coping mechanisms employed by women of the sect. The findings made herein show that there exists monogamy in the context of polygamy that alleviates the diet of mates and children, as lifestyle of the Marange men. The chief characteristics of the vapostori polygyny in a traditional standpoint are that of fusing traditional culture and religion. The theory of ‘practice’ by Pierre Bourdieu based on the concepts of Capital, Habitus, Field and Agents was utilised as a theoretical framework. Qualitative methodology instrumented by semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews based on purposive and convenience sampling was adopted. The marital behaviour among the sect members is attributed to the long held socioeconomic-religious doctrinal beliefs that fuel poverty and HIV and AIDS. The social and political familiarities, the sexual reproductive and economic exploitative experiences faced by women in the Marange sect and their views regarding polygamy diverge.


Agents; Capital; Field; Habitus; Marange; Marriages; Polygamy; Polygyny and Vapostori.

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