Zuma weds again

2012-04-14 17:32

President Jacob Zuma is to marry his fiancée Bongi Ngema in a private traditional ceremony at Nkandla next weekend.

Following several days of speculation, denials and obfuscation, Zuma’s presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj yesterday confirmed the couple will tie the knot at the president’s home village of Nxamalala, at Nkandla, near Eshowe.

“We can confirm the President and Ms Bongiwe Ngema will be marrying in a private traditional ceremony at Nkandla village next weekend,’’ Maharaj told City Press.

Late on Thursday, rumours about the wedding swirled in media circles, and by yesterday morning several newspaper crews were camped outside his home, desperately battling to get confirmation either from neighbours or members of his extended family.

The wedding comes in a month of celebrations in the Zuma household – two weeks after his third wife Thobeka Madiba-Zuma celebrated her 40th birthday at a lavish bash and a week after Zuma himself cut cakes almost daily at four events arranged for his 70th birthday celebrations.

Ironically, the media seemed to be the only people talking about the wedding rumours. Locals were in the dark, as were friends and family members, with all indications being that the couple wanted their union to remain private and out of the media frenzy which accompanies Zuma’s private life.

Residents and members of Zuma’s circle of friends said they had heard the couple would wed this year, but they were not aware of any specific date.

“We hear that baba is going to marry MaNgema very soon, but we don’t know what day,’’ said one neighbour.

Several other Zuma confidantes agreed. “The couple has tried to make sure things are done in a low-profile way. Even the lobola issues were done very quietly to try to avoid you guys (journalists),’’ said one source who asked not to be identified.

A massive marquee had been erected for Zuma’s birthday party and cattle were slaughtered overnight to feed both the guests and the community.

The N2 freeway from Durban and the road leading to Zuma’s homes – which has been massively extended and surrounded by twin security fences and cameras since he became president – were dotted with posters directing guests to the party.

This is Zuma’s sixth marriage, but he currently has four wives. He’s divorced from Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and one of his wives, Kate Mantsho, is deceased.

Wedding bells might still ring a few more times for Zuma, a proud polygamist who publicly shows off all his wives.

Pietermaritzburg businesswoman Nonkululeko Mhlongo, with whom Zuma has two children, was said to be an “ingoduso” (fiancée) when City Press enquired about her status last year from family spokesperson Michael Zuma.

She was soon to be part of the family in a formal way, he said.

MaMhlongo made a surprise public appearance at the traditional wedding of Zuma’s daughter, Duduzile.

Waiting in the wings are Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza’s daughter Sonono, who gave birth to Zuma’s child in 2009 and Princess Sebentile Dlamini, a Swazi princess for whom Zuma paid lobola in 2002.

His other wives are Sizakhele Khumalo, Nompumelelo Ntuli and Thobeka Madiba. 

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