Zuma takes third wife - and considers a fourth

Jan 5, 2010
Sophie Taylor

Sheep and goats slaughtered for South African president’s wedding feast

As President Jacob Zuma, dressed in nothing but a leopard skin, enjoyed his right under South African law to marry his third 'first lady' yesterday, it emerged that he may already be considering taking a fourth.

A traditional Zulu marriage begins with the woman presenting gifts - umbondo - to the man's family. It is understood that Gloria Bongi Ngema, who works for IBM in Johannesburg and already has a son with Zuma, presented umbondo last week.

In yesterday's ceremony at his homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal province, the 67-year-old president married Tobeka Madiba (above), described by South African media as a Durban socialite.

Most journalists were kept away, but South Africa's Eyewitness News reported that several sheep, goats and cows were slaughtered for the wedding feast and that after the marriage ceremony the president performed a solo dance during which he slipped and fell on his back, apparently without doing himself any harm.

Defending his right to enjoy the Zulu tribe's custom of polygamy, Zuma once told an interviewer: "There are plenty of politicians who have mistresses and children that they hide so as to pretend they're monogamous. I prefer to be open. I love my wives and I'm proud of my children."

According to reports before Christmas, Zuma's residence in Nkandla is being expanded at a cost of £5m-plus in order to accommodate his third wife, who joins Sizakele Khumalo-Zuma, whom he married in 1973, and the relative newcomer Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma (they married two years ago). Has anyone told the builders there could now be a fourth?

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