SA man takes 4 wives

2009-09-27 07:39

Weenen -  Milton Mbhele showed up for his wedding on Saturday in a white limousine - with four brides.

The women each received rings and a kiss from the groom at the ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of people.

South African law recognises traditional polygamous marriages - even President Jacob Zuma has three wives. Yet while polygamy remains common among several tribes including the Zulus and Swazis, simultaneous weddings are rare.

Mbhele, 44, a municipal manager in nearby Indaka, said the joint celebration would save money by combining the festivities. A traditional ceremony was planned for Sunday and there is to be a traditional exchange of gifts between the groom and his wives' families on Monday.

Mbhele has already been married to Thobile Vilakazi for 12 years and has 11 children, but did not specify who their mothers are.

"I want her to be happy," he said of Vilakazi, who was also given a gold wristwatch at Saturday's ceremony. "I think getting married to her for the second time would make her happy since I will be taking in three other wives so this will relieve her in some way."

His "middle wives" - as he described them - are Zanele Langa and Happiness Mdlolo, both 24.

The youngest wife, 23-year-old Smangele Cele, said she was looking forward to marrying Mbhele, even though it means she'll have to share him. She said the wives planned to live separately, with their husband rotating between them.

"It is because of the way in which he shows his love for me. He loves me in all ways," she said, adding: "We will not be living in the same house and we take each other as friends."