This article was previously published in the DRUM print edition in 2016.
Lies, deceit and family disputes are dogging Bishop Hamilton Nala and his new wife less than a month after they got married.
At the heart of the issue lies the lobolo, which may not have been paid. Bishop Nala of Nala Mandate ministries recently told DRUM he paid 11 cows for his fourth wife, 25-year-old Sindisiwe “Cindy” Dlamini’s lobolo (The Bishop’s new bride, 14 April). At the time, Cindy, who met the bishop at his church but romanced him on Facebook, confirmed to DRUM that lobolo was paid to the Dlaminis in Estcourt and said that “my uncle was very excited about my marriage to ubaba”.
But her uncle, Skhumbuzo Dlamini, is far from happy. He claims there was no lobolo and no wedding celebration. “Nala never paid lobolo. I don’t know what he is talking about,” he says angrily.
“She never informed me about her marriage to Nala. “I never received the cows that they are talking about. Also, no wedding took place here. The whole story is nothing but fabricated lies by Nala and Sindisiwe.”
Skhumbuzo says he’s speaking out because he has become a laughing stock in his neighbourhood. “I want the public to know the truth. I am the uncle on her father’s side and I never received her lobolo. I saw reports in the news where she was claiming that lobolo was paid to us, but this is not true. “It is also not true that she was so broke she needed Nala’s help,” he continues.
“It is not true that she had no money to pay rent. Her late father, Themba Dlamini, did everything in his power to make sure she was well taken care of. “Her father raised and financially supported her until she started working. He took her to multiracial schools, paid her university fees, rented a flat for her and bought food for her.”
Skhumbuzo says he called Cindy to find out what was going on.
“I’ve never been insulted like that in my entire life,” he says. “That girl is so disrespectful. She called me an Inyumba (someone who is barren or sterile) and told me to mind my own business. That hurt me because I regarded her as my own flesh and blood. We raised her until she found this Nala.”
Cindy’s aunt, Hlumisile Khuzwayo, says she only learned about the wedding about 10 days beforehand. “I was shocked but at the same time I was angry because she had not followed the right process,” she says.
“I asked who was going to hand her over to Nala. She said this was just a church wedding and that a proper wedding was still coming. “I was surprised to discover that the wedding was actually in December .”
Hlumisile says that Cindy has brought shame to the Dlamini clan. “I have no problem with who she marries, but she must do things the right way. Nala is almost my age, he should have done the right thing.” Hlumisile says she has only met Nala – whose third wife, Nobuhle is heavily pregnant – twice.
“I first saw Nala briefly at the mortuary when we were preparing to bury Cindy’s father and then at the funeral in 2015. It never crossed our minds that they were dating: Cindy is a child and Nala is in his 50s.” Hlumisile calls Cindy in DRUM’s presence to ask about the lobolo.
“Don’t blame me but blame my mother,” Cindy responds. “She is the one who can explain all of this. What I know is that lobolo was paid to the Hadebes because you, the Dlaminis, never paid damages (acknowledging that she was her father’s child when she was born out of wedlock).” Cindy also admitted that she had insulted her uncle.
“I told him where to get off, that he must get his own children and start minding his own business. Where does he get the audacity to say I am dating old sugar daddies? I was wrong, but I was angry. If he has a problem, he must come to me and stop running to the media.”
Bishop Nala’s spokesman, Pastor Xolani Mabaso, confirms that lobolo was paid to the Hadebe clan. “Lobolo was paid to the Hadebes because Cindy’s parents were not married,” he tells us.
“This is because her father never paid damages.” He gives us a number to call Cindy’s supposed uncle, Zebulon Hadebe. “The wedding has not happened; it is still coming,” he tells us. “The lobolo was paid to me, but I can’t disclose the amount. We did not tell the Dlaminis because her father never contributed to her upbringing and we did not see the need to do so.” But we become suspicious when he can’t tell us Cindy’s age.The story becomes even stranger when we call Cindy.
“I don’t know who Zebulon is,” she finally admits. “But I can confirm that my father financially contributed to my studies until I was able to sustain myself.”