South Africa: The Polygamist President – “Doing a ‘Zuma'”

Does anybody else notice how much the protagonists in the South African government with the name ‘Zuma’ seem to constantly take headlines, above many others? Well, I would say that the positions they occupy have a major part to play.

The President of South Africa has decided, once again, to marry. The number is up to 5 this time with recent news saying he's engaged to his sixth. The man moves fast, and works fast too… he is now up to 18 children and with a new wife I think we can expect more.

Here's what South African bloggers say… questions the acceptability of the entire affair and comments on Zuma's previous misdemeanours:

As we are all aware of now, President Jacob Zuma married his fifth wife last week.

I’ve been reading an article in the You magazine of 14 January which claims that 74% of South Africans found the practice of polygamy unacceptable.

The article also states the majority of those disapproving of the custom are women of the same culture.

Here’s what I don’t understand…

If an adult woman wants to marry a man who is already married and the wife/s agree, what is the problem?

We all have choices and although it would NEVER be my choice, I can accept that another woman might choose differently.

Where I grew up on the Cape Flats, we knew of two different Muslim families where the dad had two wives. They were all kept apart and didn’t live together.

A few years ago a Muslim friend’s husband asked her whether he could take another wife. She said no, but he went ahead anyway.

She moved out and divorced him.

Jacob Zuma’s newest wife is 37 years old and is a financial manager at a Durban cellphone company. She likely has the means to take care of herself and chose this life of polygamy.

Now if he married an underage girl handed over against her will, it’s a whole other story.

But as long as the adult woman has a say in the matter, it’r none of my business.

I have much more of a problem when a man like Zuma have all those women and still has sex with a woman who did not consent.

Pessimist Incarnate simply posts a picture and a caption…

Terrorbyte gives us a breakdown of what went down at the Zuma Wedding…

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has married his fifth wife (Technically third) , in a spectacular Zulu ceremony attended by his other wives.

Some 2,000 guests saw the 67-year-old marry Thobeka Madiba, 36. The ceremony had been postponed from last year because of his political commitments.

Under Zulu tradition, Mr Zuma’s two current wives had to approve the wedding and attend the ceremony. This ceremony is the last traditional event before a wedding and is done after ilobolo (dowry) has been paid to the bride’s family.

Monday’s ceremony was Mr Zuma’s fifth wedding – he married his first wife Sizakele Khumalo-Zuma in 1973 and Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma two years ago.

He is also divorced from Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Mr Zuma’s home in Nkandla, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, was a hive of activity in the run-up to the ceremony.

Large tents were erected to accommodate guests, some of whom arrived in a number of buses on Monday.

Several cows, sheep and goats were slaughtered for the wedding feast.

Locals including Mr Zuma were dressed in traditional Zulu attire – mostly made from animal skin.

And hundreds of people were there to witness the traditional wedding, which though initially dubbed a private affair, was later opened to the villagers. They mingled with businesspeople, politicians and celebrities dressed in the latest fashions.

Zuma and his bride were resplendent in traditional garb. He wore his Zulu attire, while the newbride looked bright in her equally impressive outfit.

Madiba wore colourful Zulu traditional attire of black (isidwaba) with a red hat and danced for a few minutes before the groom, his family and community members.

While his bride performed the Xhosa dance, Zuma sat quietly and smiled. Later he also performed a traditional dance.

He was accompanied by warriors while Madiba came surrounded by maidens from abaThembu clan. The clan was led by Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, who is an inkosi.

Earlier the couple were declared husband and wife after an elder had asked Madiba if she would join the Zuma family. She agreed, and was pronounced Zuma’s wife, joining Sizakele Khumalo, the first wife he married in 1973, and Nompumelelo Ntuli, who became his wife in 2007.

The couple and their guests were treated to a feast of traditional entertainment amid tight security. For three hours, Xhosa and Zulu traditional dancers entertained those gathered. Celebrations were scheduled to continue late into the night….

Zuma was previously married to former home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, whom he divorced in 1998, and Kate Mantsho-Zuma, who committed suicide in 2000.

… some very interesting insight there into the political and social construct of the Zuma clan.

My Rosebank sobers us up with an HIV point of view…

We live in a country with the world's highest HIV deaths. Let's state it even more simply: South Africa is the country with the world's largest number of people dying from a sexually transmitted disease. Thereare approximately 950 AIDS-realted deaths each day in South Africa [as opposed to 50 murders a day]. In TV advertising people are asked to stick to one partner. One of the ways AIDS is transmitted is by having multiple partners. Polygamy is institutionalised multiple partnering. Nice going Mr. President.

as well as these random clippings from which give some context and further insight…

Durban – The leader of the Christian Democratic Party has described President Jacob Zuma's traditional wedding on Monday as a “giant step back into the dark ages”.

Zuma's wedding “to a woman he is reported to have already fathered three children with, and the alarming return to ancestral worship is a giant step back into the dark ages,” said CDP leader Reverend Theunis Botha.

It was the same ancestral traditions that had plagued Africa in the past and that had kept it [Africa] in superstition and poverty, and not colonialism as some people believed, he claimed.

Zuma is the father of 18 children.

He is also engaged to Gloria Bongi Ngema from Durban. Her family presented umbondo (gifts) to the Zuma family at the end of December.

Umbondo is the last Zulu traditional ceremony before the wedding. It was done after ilobolo had been paid.

It was not known when Zuma would tie the knot with Ngema.

However, apart from all the criticism, someone finally gave the man a congratulations… SA Rocks gives us this…

Not bad Mr Prez. I must say you have scruples. Not only can you run a country but you can manage 5 wives and families, I am impressed. Good job.
I’ll join the nation in welcoming another “first lady” to the country: Tobeka Madiba.

Source: HWT Image Library
So all in all, congrats to President Zuma.

Terrorbyte further enlightens us with this tidbit about the actual wedding night of President Zuma…

A huge bed has been delivered to President Jacob Zuma’s compound at Nkandla, in northern KwaZulu-Natal ahead of his wedding to his fifth wife.

The Real Jenty gives her view of the President's recent actions, it speaks for itself…

I read an article in the Saturday Star yesterday about Jacob Zuma’s many wives. I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, because I knew that he had more than one wife, but as sure as heck didn’t know he had that many!! I found this article in the Mercury tonight that explains them all, and I see that there’s an article in the Sunday Times today about the same topic too!

And not only does he have 4 wives currently (he divorced one, and one committed suicide)… but he has 18 children from them and other woman. The youngest of which is 7 months old!!

I also didn’t realise that the wife that he married last year was 34 at the time… that’s almost the same age as me. And the mother of the 7mth old is about the same age (according to another article I found).

Now, I get that polygamy is quite acceptable in Zulu culture, and in fact that’s not what bothers me about this whole thing. As far as I’m concerned he can have 10 wives, I don’t really care. But dude… he’s not exactly a spring chicken at 67… what’s the deal with marrying more young wives… he’s apparently going to marry the other woman who he’s had children with. Maybe he’s only marrying them so that they’re legal and can be supported by the government?

But that’s besides my point… he’s old… why does he feel the need to have so many young wives… some of them are about 30 years younger than him… and what’s the deal with him wanting to procreate at his age! Isn’t 18 kids enough?! After all, the taxpayers are going to have to support them all!

From now on, I’m going to look at him in a new light… and it’s not a flattering one… he’s a dirty old man in my eyes.

And to end off with a confusing rendition about the inspiration President Zuma has instilled in one particular blogger, Kolobe gives us his rant about how his “polygamist dreams have been dashed!”

Ok so everyone is aware that I secretly admirer Jacob Zuma in his quest as a polygamists, in the African culture the first wife must permit the husband to marry other wives otherwise the it would be illegal marriages, so how can I convince my monogamous wife to agree to polygamy I still wonder, in fact those that are aware of the Zuma debacle is that the second Nompumelelo and third wive Thobeka are not in peace with each other, but all the wives are blessed to have Ma khumalo the eldest of the wives for support, in fact the second wife is angry and bitter of the third wive, this of course was evident on the latter’s day of the weeding when Nompumelelo was absent, it was only makhumalo who gave her blessings as the first wife. Traditionally before lobola negotiations takes place the uncles would consult the first wives for her blessing.

Believe me Zuma had a reason to take other wives and using the weakness in the first wife Ma khumalo, he managed to convince her to agree to polygamy, And the one obvious reason that comes to mind is the fact that Getrude khumalo the first wife seems to be having a problem conceiving and obviously raising children for Jacob Zuma, to date they don’t have any children. Perhaps this is the reason that Msholozi used against her and hence she can agree to this kind of marital arrangements.

Good, having studied the Zuma scenario, I had then decided to create a point of weakness so that I can have a reason against Mrs Kolobe to twist her hands in agreeing to my requests, I thought out a good plan and from Monday it was my implementation date, on Monday after work I took her by surprise when she walked from work by acting like a bull , she found me naked already and we had good sex, while she was trying to clean the house I demanded attention and off we went for another shagging session, as if that was not enough I requested another session around 11 in evening and obviously feeling tired she refused. Good the plan was coming as planned.

On Tuesday I was late at work obviously of back pains and all, shame man the Comrade seems to be losing his mojo I guess, Tuesday I repeated the same, and when she pulled the am tired plug out, then I knew it was my opportunity to attack, I jumped out of bed and switched on the lights and demanded a meeting immediately, fine she said and there we where,
You remember in 2002 when we you could not do your house chores we found a nanny for us? Then she looked at me and said yes ,so now it seems that you cannot cope with my sexual demands cause your work is exhausting you, don’t you think that it is better if we get an assistant to assist you in my demands, goodness me, there she was furious and tempers flying all nasty stuff and quoting the bible and all, it was nasty.

Fine I pulled the verses about Abram and Sarah looking that other chick that Abram shagged to produce that dude Ishmael, yaa but I was told if I wanted that I should go out of the house and find another place, in short I cannot become a polygamist, but at least I tried.

and here's some Twitter feedback on the topic which even hints at the term being coined ‘Doing a Zuma'… meaning ofcourse, polygamy.

@DevillaCruelle While Zuma is courting wife-to-be no. 6, Obama is sending 12000 troups to render aid in Haiti. Priorities, priorities….

@MonsieurPolk @mathoto_m Somebody is trying to get married! let me talk to my wife about doing a Zuma. Home cooking & great movies whats not to love?

@PrinsesLV This is where our tax money goes: Zuma's wife wearing a LOUIS VUITTON headscarf…… Ek meen rerig!

@Sliloza RT @DJFreshSA: RT @euphonik: Mr. President Jacob Zuma you are truly on to something! Why cheat on your wife when you can just take another?

The President's polygamist tendencies raises important questions for South Africa… the relevance of traditional culture in a modern era, the permissibility of polygamy by law and what this would mean for traditional vs. modern interpretations of culture in South African society… and probably a lot more. At least its educational.

1 comment

  • Manzoor H. Sarkar

    To me this is a very disgusting thing that happens in the 21st century modern society . In the name of these African Tribal traditions & Muslim Sharia Laws , the males have tailored the rules of the game over the centuries and continue to do so , since the societies dictated & ruled by the males, especially in the developing world , still tend to live in the mediaeval centuries traditions refusing to give up their selfish advantages over the females. As regards Juma , I find it surprising how the South African people can elect such a character to the highest position of the country , not to speak of his involvement in corruption & other cases. To my eyes , it lessens my respect to the South African society . I feel that the past Apartheid rule is now being replaced by another Apartheid policy dictated by men like Zuma & other so-called traditionalists. It’s a shame .

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