She openly discusses polygamy as a reality and says that families of middle class neighborhoods are the ones deceiving themselves.
Silvia Regina says that in middle class neighborhoods husbands also have several women. The difference is that in the favela (shantytown) it’s easier to “bump into one another.”
Mr. Catra and his first wife, Silvia: “Polygamy has been happening for a long time in the favela.”
Mr. Catra was previously featured on this blog in a post about the controversial video “Kong” by Brazilian singer Alexandre Pires. Catra (Wagner Domingues da Costa) is a popular rapper from Rio de Janeiro in a style known as Funk Carioca, a sound somewhat reminiscent of the mid-90s Miami Bass sound. Funk Carioca has been highly criticized over the years because of its sexually explicit lyrics and dancers, which some see as vulgar, and its connection to crime and drug trafficking in Rio’s favelas. As can be expected, favela communities are often the favorite targets of elites when there is a place or population to blamed for society’s ills. Married for 16 years to Mr. Catra, Silvia Regina, 32, talks about the relationship, shared with three other official women and two “partners” (soon to be promoted to wives) with ease. “Polygamy has been happening for a long time in the favela. There women not only declare that they accept it, but everyone lives like this”, said Silvia, who has four children with the funkeiro: Wagner, 12; Samuel, 11; Naomi, 8, and Silvinha, 3.
Catra, father of 21 children, echoes her thoughts: “Polygamy in the favela is normal and not only with the drug dealers. This happens throughout the community”. For Silvia, behavior change happened in the communities because the residents live a reality apart from the rest of society. “It’s different from the world of those who live outside. People marry others who they already know. Is someone who they grew up together with, saw each other as children, or studied together, and when you see them, they’re married. So the woman already knows this man, she already knows his rhythm”, she says.
She continues: “Everyone knows that the other woman lives in the next street, across the alley, it’s just that you don’t say it openly because now you get into this thing of speaking, of exposing how he lives.”
Children doing well
Mr. Catra and some of his children – Samuel, 11, Silvinha, 3, Ágatha, 9, Thamires, 20, (in her arms) Mariah, 2 and Noemi (sitting), 8.
For Catra, not revealing that one has other wives is a form of betrayal. “I think this is bullshit. How am I going to love my wife and be deceiving her? So (in that case) I don’t love my wife!” says the rapper. Besides Silvia, the rapper has three other women, Cinthya, Sara and Juliane, and as well as two lovers that will soon be promoted to the category of “wives” also.
In another interview, Mr. Catra explains how he administers relationships with so many women – two live in São Paulo, one lives in an apartment in Jacarepaguá*, Silvia on a small ranch, while his lovers live in the south of the country – and the 21 children, that will soon become 23, as one of his lovers and an ex-girlfriend are both pregnant. “Catra’s headed toward 30”, he exclaimed with a smile.
Silvia goes further and says that in the asphalt relations only end up not being revealed because of a question of geography. “In society, in general, the guy puts a woman inside the home and another one living in an apartment-hotel in another neighborhood. It’s just that that in the community you bump into each other, then it becomes easier to know that the next door neighbor has a son by your husband than knowing that the woman from another neighborhood has one”, she says, which ensures that children of all wives get along.
Mr. Catra with daughter Silvinha, 3.
“It’s only outside the community that this is a novelty. Because it’s a baseless novelty, after all, everybody knows. We who are women feel it we are being deceived. You say to everybody, ‘I think I have the feeling that today my husband is seeing someone else?’. I’m already saying: ‘Today he didn’t come here because he must be fucking someone else’. You see the difference?”, she points out. Silvia says that women who accept polygamy openly respect themselves more than those who pretend not to know of the relationship or discovering the betrayal and needing to deal with the other woman.
“There is no such thing as taking your husband to court because if everyone is family, (the one) who plays (the role) of the court of the family is us. That stuff comes out from a society that prefers to live in a camouflaged way and teach other families that you have to take the father to court, that they have to fuck (with him). They have to fuck with what? With the family?”, she askes.
Silvia and Mr. Catra with children: Agatha, age 9, daughter of funkeiro with his ex-wife, Renata, and Naomi, 8 years of his union with Silvia
For Silvia the litigation only contributes to the disharmony of the home. “How can I be happy to take the father of my child to court? Will my kids will be happy with that?”, she asks. When the subject is a possible lack of harmony with a wife who might join the group, she is emphatic. “I am the first woman. For him to be with a woman she has to be someone who tries to think or thinks like me. If a person has backward thoughts, we won’t get to walk along. Then she either adheres or she doesn’t come in (the picture). You won’t get involved with a person and then complain about his wife when you already knew that he was married, right?”, says Silvia.
Friendship comes with time
According to her, with the first sign of trouble the best thing to do is to step to the other wife directly. “If she’s out of line, she’s not respecting the family. Finally, accept her, somehow…. If she came in it’s because I opened the door of my house, I consider her as a person, so I’m not trying to put her down. If her handling (of the situation) is not the same as yours then she’s out of line and you have to back away from her”, she says.
Despite the proactive stance, Silvia admits that the four are not friends. “We should be, but for you to be friends with a person she has to act in purity with you. Because we have to respect each other, we have children, we are women, we live together, we like the same person. How will you help me look after my husband if you don’t have a good relationship with me?”, she says. She also believes that friendship comes with time. “It’s complicated because those that are coming from the outside are still learning. You can’t suddenly be my friend if you don’t know me. Will you pretend to want to please people? Here the thing is to please God”, said Silvia, who accepts that Catra has new wives.
“We have a motto here: we work towards what we deserve and this it makes it all worthwhile”, fires. If the candidate presents relationship difficulties she believes the best solution is to give her some advice. “We try to see and study whatever’s not good to try to improve it. Because, if we are a family, we have to give tips. If there’s no improvement it’s because she’s not striving to live with the family”, said Silvia, who chooses for herself to talk to the other women.
“Automatically I’m opening the doors of my house to receive this person and if she’s not ready to receive my family, it’s no use”, she affirms. * – Neighborhood located in the western zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview
I love your response–I believe this "plygamist" system is an extension of abuse–anda needto hold you dignity to keep food and shelter with a man you know is "irresponsible ". I strongly believe these women have lovers also that they do not discuss–While he chooses any woman he wants without remorse it is natural law for THE WOMEN to have lovers to be a companion.
I Really Thank That As "Long" As The Wives In A Polyamist Marriage "Get Along" With Each Other And "Don't" Cause Mischief Then I See No Problem With It At ALL!! As An Black Man Living In The U.S.A. Where Men(Especially BM) Are So "Demonize" 4 Just Being Men I See This Being A Good Benefit As Long As The Parties Involve Can Act "Civilize" In The Relationship.Keep In Mind That The Divorce Rate Here In The States Is A Very High 50-60% And Besides american Women Can't Handle Polygamy Anyhow Because Of The "Man-Hating" Influence Of Feminism Over The Last 40 Years.
Men all over the world practise ILLEGAL polygamy when they have mistresses. Adultery is a common practise in America and European countries. LEGAL Polygamy has been ordained by G-D. Every prophet of G-D (Abraham, Moses, Muhammed etc) had more than one wife.
The first two comments are clearly women who have been colonialized, thusly have sold out due to weakness. But all cultures have practiced polygamy. Some have abused it others have not. But surely it is our culture. I’m surprise at African women who hold this view. Colonialization is a mean thing…