Song and dance at Zuma wedding

2010-01-05 08:25
President Jacob Zuma, wearing leopard skins, sings and dances with Thobeka Madiba at their wedding ceremony at his rural homestead in Nkandla. (Rajesh Jantilal, AFP)

President Jacob Zuma, wearing leopard skins, sings and dances with Thobeka Madiba at their wedding ceremony at his rural homestead in Nkandla. (Rajesh Jantilal, AFP)

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Nkandla - Politicians, celebrities and former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, inkosi Mandla Mandela, were among those who attended President Jacob Zuma's wedding to Thobeka Madiba at his home in Nkandla on Monday.

Guests were treated to Zulu and Xhosa traditional dance, and Zuma danced with his new wife.

Security was tight and journalists were barred from getting close to the president’s home.

However, media who had been camping near Zuma’s home since the early morning were later allowed to attend the ceremony.

Extra security

In a statement on Sunday, the presidency urged the media to stay away, saying the wedding was “a private family ceremony”.

SA Police Service Director Phindile Radebe said they deployed more police officers “to make sure that the event goes smoothly as planned”.

A large marquee was erected to accommodate guests, which included people from the surrounding area.

Several goats and sheep were slaughtered for the feast.

The marriage ceremony was conducted by a local induna.

Trademark song

The sounds of Zuma’s trademark song, Awuleth’ umshini wami, rang out during the day as his in-laws performed it at the end of the ceremony.

“See how things have changed. Then we cried and now we are laughing,” commented Emmah Mthembu of Soweto, referring to Zuma’s court cases, where the song was sung in the past.

Guests arrived from early morning in luxury buses and cars. One party flew in by helicopter.

In preparation for the dancing, Zuma himself helped pick up glass shards from the field, so that barefoot performers would not get hurt.

Madiba and seven women in her entourage draped Zuma in a string of white beads to complete the ceremony before the dancing got under way in a misty drizzle.

The president’s other current wives are Sizakele Khumalo, whom he married in 1973, and Nompumelelo MaNtuli-Zuma, whom he married in 2007.
 
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