South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has taken a fourth wife after marrying, for the sixth time, his long-time girlfriend Bongi in a private ceremony at his rural home in Nkandla, in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province.
Ngema, an activist and former information technology worker, is well known in South Africa and has already accompanied the president on foreign visits. The ceremony raised few eyebrows in a country where polygamy is legal and an integral part of Zuma’s Zulu culture. The two had a traditional Zulu wedding and “the bride and groom later participated in the traditional competitive celebratory dance,” the presidency said in a statement.
Zuma has 21 children, including a seven-year-old son with Ngema. The president is also married to Sizakele Zuma, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma and Tobeka Madiba-Zuma. They all attended the ceremony. His marriage to Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma ended in a divorce. Another wife, Kate Mantsho-Zuma, committed suicide in 2000.
As if not to be outdone, in neighbouring Zimbabwe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai got engaged to his fiancée Elizabeth Macheka at a private ceremony in Harare last night. Macheka, 35, is the daughter of Zanu PF Central Committee member and former Chitungwiza executive mayor and MP Joseph Macheka.
Elizabeth was the wife of the late Wing Commander Mabasa Simba Guma who died in a car accident along the Harare-Bulawayo Road on November 28 2002. Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the engagement party took place near Chisipite, but did not give details. “Yes, I can confirm that the Prime Minister is now engaged to his sweetheart Elizabeth Macheka, daughter to ex-Chitungwiza mayor. As of now that is all I can say as I am at that very function,” Tamborinyoka said. “We are happy the Prime Minister has started formalising his marriage and soon we will have a mother.”
The engagement was kept secret, with none of Tsvangirai’s lieutenants divulging his intentions until the information was leaked on the social media platforms just before the event.