First lady Tobeka Madiba Zuma to host birthday celebrations

2015-04-02 19:23
Tobeka Madiba and President Jacob Zuma. (City Press)

Tobeka Madiba and President Jacob Zuma. (City Press)

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I've always counted others before me - First Lady

2014-06-17 13:46

Speaking to News24Live, First Lady Bongi Ngema-Zuma speaks about her passion to help others and her views on culture and family. Watch.WATCH

Durban - President Jacob Zuma's wife, Tobeka Madiba Zuma, will celebrate her 43rd birthday in a low-key affair in Nkandla on Saturday.

Known for her style and glamour, Madiba Zuma told News24 that she had mixed feelings about the celebrations.

Themed 20 Years of Freedom, the celebration is dedicated to honouring those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, she said.

Madiba Zuma is the president's fifth wife. They married five years ago.

“Easter is a time to remember that Jesus died for our sins. At the same time, I am excited and feel grateful to God for keeping me safe until this age and for giving me the opportunity to touch people’s lives through my charity work,” said the Anglican.

The last time she celebrated in style was in 2012, when she turned 40. The swanky do was reportedly held at the Du Boirs in Waterfall next to Hillcrest in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

This year however, she said, was about “celebrating our veterans and stalwarts, those that have passed on and those that are still alive. This is just to thank them for the sacrificing their education, their families and laying down their lives for us.”

Madiba Zuma said she was honouring the likes of Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Suzman and Charlotte Maxeke, women who had inspired her to become the woman that she was today.

“It is also about the living legends like Mama Winnie Mandela and Graca Machel who have touched me. Even the late Collins Chabane,” said Madiba Zuma, referring to the late Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane who died, along with his two bodyguards, in an accident on March 15.

Madiba Zuma said this was also a time to teach her children that life was not only about having a good time. “We are faced with different challenges and we need to teach our children not to take democracy for granted,” she said.

Everyone welcome

She remained tight lipped about the finer details, but she extended an invitation to the public to celebrate with the family.

“I don’t have a specific number of guests invited, everyone is welcome. If neighbours see smoke in the sky, they should join us for a plate. It’s going to be very relaxed, nothing extravagant,” said Madiba Zuma.

When asked whether her husband would be attending, she chuckled and said, “I am hoping that he will be there, but if national duty calls then I will understand.”

She said the homestead could not accommodate everyone, but she would make sure that all her guests were comfortable.

For a woman known for her penchant for elegance, she said she did not know what she would be wearing on Saturday.

“All I know is that I will be wearing something respectable, like a real makoti [wife].”

So what gift do you buy the first lady?

“I am not fussy at all, I will accept anything from a lollipop to a helicopter, but the perfect gift and birthday for me would be putting a smile on the veterans' faces and spending the day with my lovely family,” she said.

When blowing out her candles on the cake, she said she would have these wishes in mind.

“I want to continue saving as many lives as humanly possible, to preserve our country’s history and to grow the economy.

“I also want South Africa to be counted among the other first world countries,” said Madiba Zuma. 

Send your comments to Amanda.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  nkandla  |  nkandla homestead  |  zuma  |  first lady

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