South Africa President Jacob Zuma's fifth wedding
New Delhi: South African President Jacob Zuma is set to marry his fifth wife in a traditional ceremony at his rural village in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, the presidency said in a statement Sunday. "The traditional wedding of President Jacob Zuma and Tobeka Madiba today, 4 January, is a private family ceremony". Mr Zuma, a Zulu, was meant to marry his fiance Thobeka Mabhija, 36, last year but the wedding was postponed due to Mr Zuma's political commitments. Correspondents say Mr Zuma's belief in the traditional practice of polygamy has split South Africans. Some support him but many younger people believe it should have no place in a modern society. Mr Zuma married his first wife Sizakele Khumalo-Zuma, in 1973, and his second wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, two years ago. He is also divorced from Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. "The traditional wedding of President Jacob Zuma and Thobeka Mabhija tomorrow, 4 January, is a private family ceremony," said a statement from the presidency on Sunday. The office asked journalists to "allow the family the privacy that they are entitled to". South African media reported that Mr Zuma's home in Nkandla, in the province of Kwa Zulu Natal, was a hive of activity in the run-up to the ceremony. When Mr Zuma, 66, was inaugurated as president in May, speculation was rife about who would be the first lady. Mr Zuma has attended some high-profile events with all his wives, including Ms Mabhija.
Madiba, 37, who has two children with 66-year-old Zuma, has attended official functions as one of the country's first ladies and has been quoted in the media as Thobeka Madiba-Zuma.
Polygamy is legally recognised in South Africa.
According to a biography on Zuma, prepared by his party, the African National Congress, the president has three wives including Madiba but details on their marriage remained vague.
Meanwhile, Zuma is also reportedly preparing to take on a sixth wife.
Earlier this week, an umbondo (exchange of gifts) ceremony was held signalling that he had paid ilobolo (dowry) for his latest fiancee, Bongi Ngema, according to the Sunday Times.
When Zuma was inaugurated as head of state in May, speculation was rife about who would be the first lady.
He attended the ceremony with his first wife Sizakele Khumalo, whom he has known for 50 years and married in 1973.
Zuma is also married to Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, whom he married in 2008 in a lavish ceremony.
One of his earlier wives, Kate Mantsho Zuma, committed suicide in 2000.
In 1998 he divorced Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but she remains in his inner circle as she is currently home affairs minister.