South African president Jacob Zuma has three wives.
Soon he will have four.
Zuma, 70, will marry his longtime fiance Gloria Bongi Ngema next weekend, making her his fourth current wife, according to a posting on the presidential website today.
Zuma is a Zulu traditionalist, and polygamy is legal in South Africa.
The private ceremony is to take place in Nkandla in eastern KwaZulu Natal province and is expected to be a colorful event, with Zuma and others donning leopard-skins and taking part in traditional dancing and other festivities.
Ngema, a businesswoman from Durban, has a three-year-old son with Zuma, according to the Telegraph. She oversees her Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation, established in 2010 to raise awareness about diabetes. She is already well-known to the South African public as she has accompanied Zuma to many events including his recent trips to France and the United States. Zuma usually takes one wife with him to official events, on a rotating basis, reported the BBC.
Zuma's marriage to Ngema will be his sixth. His most recent marriage was in January 2010, when he married his third wife, Tobeka Madiba. Zuma's two other current wives are Sizakele Khumalo and Nompumelelo Ntuli, according to Fox News. He is divorced from one wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who is South Africa's current minister of home affairs. Another of Zuma's wives, Kate Zuma, committed suicide in 2000 after writing a letter that described her marriage as "24 years of hell."
Zuma has 21 children.
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Zuma will pay for the wedding himself and there will be no cost to the government, according to the president's website. The statement added, for clarification, that the state does not pay for the maintenance of the four spouses' households.
Zuma was acquitted of rape charges in 2006, though he admitted having unprotected sex with the woman, who he knew was HIV-positive. He testified that he took a shower after having sex with her in the belief that this would reduce the chance of infection, .
In 2009 he fathered a child out of wedlock with the daughter of a senior football official.
Ngema will take her place in one of six double-storey thatched huts recently constructed for Zuma's wives and children in a multi-million pound revamping of his rural homestead, according to the Telegraph.
The huts all have armored glass in their windows, according to sources. quoted by South Africa's Sunday Times, and their bedrooms are connected to the president's house by underground tunnels.
Zuma recently celebrated his 70th birthday and at the party he answered questions from his grown up daughters which had the guests rolling with laughter. He said he thought this would be his last marriage, but he would go on a date with Helen Zille, the white leader of the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. Zuma said he liked full-figured women and his favorite cars are Mercedes and BMW.