Polygamist President of South Africa, Jabob Zuma, 70, has married a sixth wife. He married Gloria "Bongi" Ngema on Saturday, in a customary service that began at 6 a.m. at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
After his his sixth wedding, Zuma now has four wives. His three other wives attended his wedding to Ngema, a business woman with whom he has a seven-year-old son. According to Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj: "President Jacob Zuma has today married Ms Bongi Ngema at a traditional ceremony known as umgcagco at his home in Nkandla. The bride and groom later participated in the traditional competitive celebratory dance. A wedding reception will be held this evening, and tomorrow there will be the umabo, where the bride showers the groom's family with gifts." The statement added shortly: "The president's three wives attended the event."
Daily Mail reports Zuma can legally marry many wives under South Africa's constitution. The customary law that allows him multiple marriages was drawn up after the apartheid era to preserve the "traditions" of the country's native ethnic groups.
Reuters reports that the new bride Ngema is an activist and former IT worker, well known in South Africa and has already been with the president on foreign visits.
According to the Daily Mail, Zuma had been engaged to Ngema for a long time. She is described as a "devoutly religious businessmen woman." She has worked for several major companies in South Africa, including IBM and Deoloitte & Touche. Now that she is married to the South African president, she will join the presidential household in the village of Nkandla where she will live together with the other three wives. All four women will be treated as first ladies and will share their "spousal duties" among themselves, Daily Mail reports. The Guardian reports, however, that there is no official position of First Lady in South Africa, and according to the presidency, none of Zuma's wives has a constitutional role or receives state funds.
Zuma, a former goatherder, who spent a decade in prison during the apartheid regime married his first wife Sizakele Khumalo, 69, in 1973. He married Nompumelelo Ntuli, 37, in 2008 and Thobeka Madiba, 39, in 2010.
The Guardian reports he divorced Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 1999. His wife Kate Mantasho-Zuma committed suicide in 2000.
According to The Telegraph, the president's spokesman Maharaj, said: "The new Mrs Zuma had already been part of the spousal machinery in terms of administrative support so there will be no changes due to the wedding."
South Africa's Sunday Times reported last week that the president's home in Nkandla was renovated in a multi-million-pound project involving construction of six double-story thatched huts. According to the Sunday Times, each of the building was connected to Zuma's house by an underground tunnel, to allow him easy access to his wives.