No honeymoon yet for newlyweds: Zuma expected at office today

2012-04-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — President Jacob Zuma is not taking time off for a honeymoon and is expected in his office today.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj confirmed yesterday that the president had not applied for leave. He declined to say whether this was because a honeymoon does not form part of Zuma’s culture, or whether his workload is simply too heavy.

Zulu culture expert Bethuel Manyati said yesterday that traditionally a newly married couple would not go away straight after their wedding. “The new daughter-in-law must first get to know her in-laws,” he said.

He agreed that in the case of a high-profile person like Zuma, the situation could be different. “They could explain to the elders why they should go away,” he said.

On Saturday, there was a very real sense of community and family celebration when Zuma and his fourth wife, Gloria Bongi Ngema, married at his Nkandla homestead.

On Saturday the Nxamalala village came alive as the newlyweds performed umabo, the second leg of their wedding, inside the security perimeter at his homestead, and the media were asked to stay outside.

Ngema’s family arrived with symbolic gifts for the Zumas, including a double bed with a two-toned headboard, blankets and a kist.

After the morning’s ceremony, Zuma, dressed in a striped shirt, blue trousers and a Stetson hat, sat on a verandah enjoying braaied meat with Premier Zweli Mkhize and ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

The Friday leg of the wedding was a massive event for the community, whose members mingled with family and guests throughout, and some 1 500 people enjoying a banquet in a huge marquee set up not far from Zuma’s home.

Zuma’s three other wives — Sizakhele Khumalo, Nompumelelo Ntuli and Thobeka Mabija — were present at the wedding and attended the reception, as did his children from all his relationships.

The father of 21 thanked his family for their support of him and his new bride, with whom he has a seven-year-old son.

His daughters Gugu and Duduzile acted as hostesses for the family at the reception and the earlier events, and laughed with their father and his new wife.

Ngema, who was described by those who gave speeches including her groom as a Christian woman, thanked God for keeping the relationship going for 11 years. She said it was “God’s timing” that they were getting married now. She wore a lilac dress with long-sleeved, short-cut coat with a V-shaped diamond necklace and chandelier diamond earrings.

No honeymoon yet for newlyweds: Zuma expected at office today

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