70 and going strong: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma is set to marry Wife Number 6

by Hauwa Gambo

Jacob Zuma's wives (first left is Ngema)

Jacob Zuma hasn’t been shy of doing what he wants, even if the world sees it as primitive – so he is now set to take another wife in addition to the four he has presently (making this the sixth woman he will marr)(, his spokesman confirmed today. The South African president, who just turned 70, will wed fiancee Gloria Bongekile Ngema next weekend during a traditional ceremony at his village home. He has been in a relationship with Ms. Ngema for many years now – and they have a 3 year old son.

Mr Zuma’s spokesman Mac Maharaj today confirmed the president was looking forward to formalising his relationship with the university graduate, with whom he has a three year old son.

According to reports, Ms. Ngema, who is referred to as “a devoutly religious business graduate” has recently been seen at the side of the Zuma, who is permitted to take multiple wives under South African law. She even joined him last year on a diplomatic trip to France, a position usually reserved for the First Lady.

Zuma is said to have more than 20 children. His first wife, Sizakele Khumalo is 69 and was wed in 1973, the second is 37 and was wed in 2008, and the third is 39 and was wed in 2012. He divorced South African cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in 1999 and Kate Mantsho-Zuma, his erstwhile wife, sadly committed suicide in 2000. So you could say, this is wife number 6.

There are reports that he is engaged to at least one other woman, and these would not be strange considering the history of his adultery scandals. Two years ago, the public learnt that he had fathered a love child with a close friend’s daughter.  In December 2005, he was charged with raping a HIV-positive 31-year-old women at his Gauteng home. He claimed it was consensual. More remarkable was that, as the head of South Africa’s National AIDS Council, at the time, he confessed that he had not used a condom when having sex with the woman, despite knowing her status. In response, he claimed to have taken a shower afterwards to “cut the risk of contracting HIV” – drawing widespread condemnation.

Despite this cloud of serial philandering, he is said to be a man who treats his wives fairly. All three women were at his side at his 2009 inauguration, they are all First Ladies and official engagements are based on a rota. They also all joined to cut his 70th birthday cake and he lives with all three at his rural homestead.  They will also join friends, associates and family at the wedding of his new wife.

The Daily Mail ends its reporting of Zuma’s latest move with an interesting anecdote:

News of the forthcoming nuptials comes as the Sunday Times reported that Mr Zuma had recently hinted his marrying days were over.

The newspaper said the issue of the president’s private life was raised during a video montage about him which was played to guests last week at his birthday celebrations.

Asked during an interview whether he was finished with marriage and children, Mr Zuma reportedly answered ‘I think so’ to the first question and offered a decisive ‘Yes’ to the second.

The next question apparently enquired about how the statesman liked his women.

Mr Zuma reportedly replied: ‘I like one with some body.’

Now go back and look at the picture of his wives.



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