Nobody can accuse President Jacob Zuma of not practising what he preaches when it comes to saving women from being single and childless.
Those who have criticised him for saying to women “you’ve got to have kids, kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother” must credit him for doing his own little bit to help out.
So far he’s had six wives himself and fathered at least 22 children, some of them with single women on the basis that, though “being single is not right”, it is better to be a single mother than not a mother at all.
This should give hope to all those South African women who have not yet found a man to marry. Hang it all, the president can’t go round marrying everybody, as much as he would like to. But there must be other manly types like him, happy to scatter their seed.
Perhaps the country’s single women are not trying hard enough. In that wonderful musical Annie Get Your Gun, Betty Hutton sang “you can’t get a man with a gun”. If that is the case, how about trying with that other favourite weapon of Zuma’s, a machine gun.
They might also consider visiting singles bars, though an advertisement for 10 of Cape Town’s best such establishments seemed aimed more at men intent on meeting “hot chicks” than women keen to have their eggs fertilised.
Until all the singles do start producing babies they will lack that extra training so necessary for women.
One of the things that motherhood trains them to do is survive with only two hours’ sleep a night, though one woman I know said if she wanted that sort of training she would prefer to go the whole hog and be deprived of it as a political prisoner.
Another selfishly said her main purpose in not having children was to get some sleep.
Not all men realise there’s a downside to “having kids”. One of them is nine months’ pregnancy followed, in some cases, by up to 36 hours’ labour. If the president had himself experienced the excruciating pain of childbirth 22 times, he might not have been so keen to give so many women a good time.
He might even have said “I’ll skip the extra training, if you don’t mind”.
Two of my aunts did just that. One became a nun and the other decided that spinsterhood suited her fine.
My mother was the only one of three sisters who got married and underwent the extra training that my brother and I provided. Naturally we are grateful that she did so, but it has not passed unnoticed that both her sisters outlived her by 10 years.
Never mind. Even if the extra training does not promote longevity, it does fulfil the biblical injunction (as part-time theologian Zuma will tell you) to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, whose population only stands at seven billion, give or take 22.