As the host of a new TV show, Musa Mseleku shares what he’s learnt about polygamy
HE’S been the envy of men all over South Africa. Rich and stylish with four wives in his house, many have wondered – how does he do it? Now businessman and reality TV star Musa Mseleku (44) is answering that question – while helping other men who want to live the polygamist lifestyle.
He’s the presenter of Mnakwethu, a new show on Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) that follows the stories of men who want to introduce the polygamy conversation to their wives.
The last time Musa made headlines was when he had hundreds of women queuing to be in the same room as him in hopes of becoming his new wife.
They were so eager to be part of his life they were willing to pay R5 000 to attend what was dubbed the “in pursuit of number five” dinner last year.
But even with the dinner he still hasn’t managed to find wife number five, Musa sheepishly tells DRUM. “The request for the fifth wife was a genuine one.”
In the third season of Uthando Nes’Thembu, viewers got to see how unenthusiastic his wives – Nokukhanya Mseleku (MaYeni), Busisiwe Mseleku (Mamkhulu), Mbali Mseleku (MaNgwabe) and Thobile Mseleku (MaKhumalo) – were about the idea.
He hasn’t managed to persuade them otherwise. “If they say ‘no’, as a man you must respect the ‘no’,” he says. “But a request was made.”
Although there isn’t anyone lined up as yet it seems Musa hasn’t given up.
“My job is to persuade everyone until everyone says ‘yes’. What’s beautiful about all of this is that there’s no pressure, and there’s no one waiting to be wife five,” he tells us.
FOR now the attention is off the Mseleku household, although viewers are waiting with bated breath for a new season of Uthando Nes’Thembu (which hasn’t been confirmed yet). In Mnakwethu, the head of the Mseleku household follows the lives of men who want to overcome the fear of introducing the idea of polygamy into their marriages. The intention is to eliminate conflict.
The Mselekus might have made it look easy and fashionable on TV but, Musa
says, that’s far from the truth. “Polygamy isn’t easy.”
He’s excited that the new show will break down the nitty-gritty of this cultural practice.
Since being on TV he’s met many men who are fascinated by his life. “I get to expand from our reality TV show in that I’m able to caution people about polygamy and speak my mind.”
He was a little nervous at first about hosting a show, but after a few scenes he settled comfortably into the role. “The beauty about this is that I’m practising it and I’ve written about it, so the subject is an easy one for me to talk about.”
Having gone through challenges with his four wives, he speaks confidently when giving advice on the show. He’s honest in his approach and can easily tell whether a man’s reasons are valid.
There are a lot of misconceptions about polygamy and Musa hopes the show will help to demystify some of them.
“Is’Thembu is bigger than being fascinating on TV. The truth is, it has its challenges – big challenges at that.”
Should you decide to go this route, whether as a man or woman, you must be clear about what you’re getting yourself into, he points out.
For instance, it takes a certain level of maturity to understand when a wife says “no” to the idea of introducing another wife to the family.
“I want men to know that it’s possible for your wife to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” Musa says. “Her saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean she has to be your enemy or an embarrassment to your manhood.”
He says that as the person at the helm of it all, it’s the man’s role to create a peaceful, happy home. He says while some “no’s” are permanent, others make it possible for a conversation to brew about the possibility of it happening.
“Creating this safe space and not rushing it allows for an open discussion and an opportunity for the man to lay down his reasons respectfully.”
This is something Musa has done in his personal life.
His wives need to give consent before he can go ahead and seek a new wife. “You need to make your wife comfortable and not create a hostile situation from the word go, because that would mean that’s how it’s always going to be.”
The first episode of his new show triggered a debate on Twitter, with men loving the idea of having more than one wife, while a number of women cautioned broke men against even thinking about polygamy.
Musa agrees it’s not for everyone. “The character of a man is more important than money. However, money obviously helps a man manage Is’Thembu better. Like any man, he has family responsibilities that need to be taken care of.
“It’s true that you need money but, more importantly, if you’re not a good manager of the family it will break down, be it a monogamous or a polygamous structure,” he says.
There are other fundamental issues that need to be considered too.
“As a man, if you can’t be patient and respectful, or if you want to use your financial power over women, it won’t work. They’ll leave you with your money. But if you don’t use those resources to manipulate them, they’ll see the true man in you who deserves to have [more] wives.”
MUSA admits that in his experience polygamy is a hard conversation to have with a wife. “That’s why men hide it – because when women find out they become angry.” But this isn’t the case with him. “I love that God brought this revelation to me when I was 23 years old, and I’ve been honest about it,” he says. “I love that I’m living an honest life.”
Support from his wives has made it possible for him to have the life he has, he says.
“It can never be said that it was through my wisdom. God chose the right wives for me. It’s not easy. There’s so much my wives have done to make it work. When you pick wives, you don’t know if they’ll get along. You can only hope for it.”
Hosting Mnakwethu could have strained his relationships, he reveals. He’s already had to allocate certain days to see his four wives and their respective families, and his wives first had to give him the nod before he could make a commitment to the show.
Getting the family to approve wasn’t difficult. They were happy.
“The most important things are to pay attention to the scheduling, and to be respectful of the time I’m supposed to have with them,” Musa says.
“The best part is that the family is still structured. In fact, they’re also eager to know how I go about representing them as a family when I’m on TV. They give feedback and help me consider certain aspects of whatever situation I might be faced with at the time.”
He may be coveted by many women but the spotlight hasn’t changed him, he says. “I’m the one who has to pursue. I’ll stay true to that. I wouldn’t want to be pursued.
“Remember, the people who pursue me are doing so because of what they’ve seen on TV, and not necessarily to embrace the vision and the man that I truly am.”
‘You need to make your wife comfortable and not create a hostile situation from the word go’