New year, new wife ... another one in waiting; President Jacob Zuma heralded the coming of the new year in grand style when he tied the knot with a long-known fiancee. She became the fifth wife, "third lady" and newest "first lady". Pusch Commey reports.

Author:Commey, Pusch
Position:SOUTH AFRICA - Tobeka Madiba-Zuma

The 37-year-old Tobeka Madiba-Zuma, the fifth wife in President Jacob Zuma's life, is described as beautiful, glamorous and ambitious. She has a Bachelor of Commerce degree, and has worked for various blue chip companies in South Africa. She is said to have been Zuma's personal banker when she worked as one in 1993. That was when Zuma, then 51 years old, zeroed in. Needless to say, she was then a nubile 21-yearold. She subsequently bore Zuma three children. In all, the President has 18 children with different women, including two ex-wives. Now 67, Zuma effectively has three wives, with another one in waiting.


His first wife and childhood sweetheart, Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, now "First Lady No. I", whom he married in 1959 shortly after he was released from prison on Robben Island, has borne him no children, even though they have known each other for 50 years. She was the one who stood at Zuma's side during his inauguration as president last year.

Then came the now well-known Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as Wife No. 2. Later to become foreign minister under President Thabo Mbeki and currently home affairs minister under her ex-husband, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has four children with the president. A medical doctor by profession, she obtained an MB ChB from the University of Bristol in England. The couple divorced in 1998, but Nkosazana remains a strong ally and trusted aide of her ex-husband. Ironically she was also very close to Mbeki, Zuma's erstwhile adversary.

Zuma's marriage to his third wife, a Mozambican airline hostess, in the 1980s yielded five children. Sadly, Kate Mantsho Zuma committed suicide in 2000.

Wife No. 4, Nomphumelo Ntuli-Zuma, has two children with the president. She tied the knot last year prior to Zuma's inauguration. She has since been acting as the "official" First Lady, accompanying Zuma during his foreign travels. With the arrival of Tobeka, that could soon change.

The one in waiting has been identified as Gloria Bongi Ngema, who has a young son with the president. She works for IBM in Durban. It is reported that "lobola", or a dowry, has already been paid, pending a formal traditional marriage ceremony, possibly next year.

The latest marriage, a star-studded Zulu ceremony, took place on 4 January in Zuma's R1. 5m estate in his hometown, Nkandla, in Zululand. In a ceremony with true African pomp and pageantry, a traditional officer put the question to the new bride: "Umtheto uyabuza ukuthi...

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