Lifestyle & Belief

Jacob Zuma marries Bongi Ngema during two days of lavish ceremonies


South African President Jacob Zuma (L) and his fiancee Gloria Bongi Ngema (R) arrive at Incheon international airport outside Seoul on November 10, 2010 ahead of the start of the G20 Summit.



JOHANNESBURG — South African President Jacob Zuma has married long-time fiancee Bongi Ngema, making her his fourth wife during two days of lavish ceremonies.

Zuma's weekend wedding to Ngema, held at his rural homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal province, included both traditional Zulu and Western-style ceremonies. 

It was Zuma's sixth wedding in total. His three other current wives were all in attendance.

The 70-year-old president danced while dressed in leopard skins, accompanying by men in Zulu warrior regalia singing traditional songs, the South African Press Association reported.

In another traditional ceremony, Ngema's family gave gifts to the Zuma family, including a new bedroom suite.

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South Africa's Times newspaper reported that six cattle and several goats were slaughtered for the ceremonies, which were attended by more than 800 guests, relatives and villagers.

The couple also had a Western-style white wedding reception with a tiered cake, held under a marquee on the grounds of a local high school.

According to the New Age newspaper: "Journalists were barred from entering the tent, where the ceremony took place and Ukhozi DJ MC’ed. Traditional musicians shared the stage as guests – which included well-healed businessmen and women - were treated to exquisite meals."

The wedding guest list included prominent Durban businessmen, politicians, foreign ambassadors and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, the Times said.

Zuma, a Zulu traditionalist, follows polygamy under South African laws that allow only one civil union, but multiple customary marriages.

His spokesman Mac Maharaj announced prior to the wedding that costs would be paid for by Zuma.

Zuma is divorced from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the current Home Affairs minister. Zuma was also married to Kate Mantsho, who killed herself in 2000.

Ngema, who is from Umlazi township near Durban, last year joined the president on a diplomatic trip to France. The couple have a 7-year-old child together.

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