It’s Wife Number Five for South African President
South Africa gets another “first lady.”
President Jacob Zuma married his fifth wife Thobeka Mabhija Monday, January 4. She became the third concurrent first lady of the 49 million people nation. The other concurrent first ladies are Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, his very first wife (since 1973) and Nompumelelo Ntuli (since 2008).
An ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini, was divorced by Zuma in 1998. She is currently Zuma’s Minister of Home Affairs. Another wife, Kate Mantsho, committed suicide in 2000. She left a note saying that life with Zuma was hell.
As of the moment, Zuma has two fiancees: Sebentile Dlamini and Bongi Ngema.
The polygamous ways of Zuma is something that s not common among young urban middle class South Africans and is heavily criticized by women’s rights activists and AIDS awareness activists.
The President is a Christian. He has 19 children from various women, some not from his wives.
His term ends in 2014 but he can run again for another. At the time of his accession to the presidency, there was a debate on who would be the “first First Lady”. His spokesman said that all of the first ladies are equal.