A colourful day for Mrs Zuma

2012-04-21 00:00

GLORIA Bongekile (Bongi) Ngema is now officially the fourth wife of President Jacob Zuma after having been engaged to him for a number of years.

Their private traditional wedding yesterday came a week after Zuma celebrated his 70th birthday.

It was a colourful day at Zuma’s country home in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, with women ululating and warriors blowing horns while they sang and danced waiting for the ceremony to start.

Ngema’s family arrived in buses and were seated in a tent outside the Zuma homestead waiting to be taken inside the yard (Isigcawu, where the wedding was to take place).

The media were not allowed inside. Zuma’s son Edward and nephew Khulubuse Zuma seemed to enjoy keeping journalists at bay.

Edward Zuma said: “We don’t need you here because you always report wrongly.”

Khulubuse, boss of controversial empowerment mining company Aurora, rode a quad bike in and out of the homestead.

Members of the public came dressed in colourful traditional wear, and amabuthu carried spears and shields.

Ngema made her debut in public life last year when she accompanied Zuma on a state visit to France.

Zuma and Ngema have a three-year-old son, one of his 20 children.

Zuma’s other wives are Sizakele Khumalo, whom he met in 1959, Nompumelelo “MaNtuli” Zuma and Thobeka Stacey Mabhija.

He divorced Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 1998, and another wife, Kate Zuma, committed suicide two years later.

Among the guests was a Chinese friend of Ngema, who is a businesswoman in Umlazi. “We are invited by Bongi as she is our friend and we are enjoying this wedding. We are happy for her,” said Ana Tong of the Chinese Women’s Association.

Also among the guests was Zanele Hlatshwayo, a former Msunduzi mayor, accomanied by members of the Moses Mabhida ANC region leadership, who arrived in ANC centenary-branded cars.

Yesterday’s traditional festivities were not the whole celebration. Today politicians, diplomats and top businessmen are expected to attend the western wedding in a marquee near the Nkandla homestead.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

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