Zuma’s growing stock of wives


JF-Expert Member
Jul 2, 2007
Zuma’s growing stock of wives and the burden of Christianity

POLYGAMY: Nicholas Sengoba

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, 65, President of the African National Congress (ANC) has been making headlines lately for the way in which he is going about adding “wives and women” to his harem.

He has gained notoriety for being the country’s most prominent polygamist. The width of “candidates” in the field, has left Zuma watchers guessing as to who will become South Africa’s first lady if he wins the presidential elections slated for 2009.

For the ‘known’ record there is Sizakele Khumalo whom he met in 1959. Then there is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma the South African Foreign Minister who divorced Zuma in 1998.

Kate Zuma committed suicide in 2000. Minah Shongwe is an old mate who has Zuma’s 30-year old son. In January he ‘officially’ added 35-year old Nompumelelo Ntuli to the list thereafter paying lobolo (bride price) for the hand of Thobeka Stacy Mabhija also 35.

In 2002, Zuma paid lobolo for Swazi Princess Sebentile Dlamini, 38, the granddaughter of King Sobhuza III but the ‘deal’ hit a snag when the good princess got wind of the news of Zuma’s ‘interest’ in Nompumelelo. She was hospitalised, suffering from depression!

Relatives of Bongi Ngema, the mother of Zuma’s three year old son Sinqumo, are displeased that her name is not being “notably” mentioned among his “wives.”

The list of known and unknown girlfriends and the disputed figure of 18 children; the products of Zuma’s relationships is a hot item of speculation in South Africa’s lively media and on the internet.

The polygamous side of Zuma makes news in many parts of the African continent that practise Christianity as a religion because of what a critic on national radio called the “burden of Christianity.”

When the European missionaries landed in Africa with a new religion, the greatest hurdle for most of the converts was giving up polygamy (and traditional forms of worship which the missionaries called “witchcraft.”)

To take advantage of the package that the new religion provided ie education and vocational skills such as carpentry, most natives took to practising Christianity during “broad daylight” before reverting to the old ways in “the night” in the absence of the prying eyes of the society -what is known as being “Anglican by day and African by night.”

To be acceptable, a well educated and civilised Christian married a wife in church and wore a ring on his finger promising to love only that woman in health, wealth, poverty, sickness etc.

Besides for a politician it was important to keep up appearances as being a good exemplary “God fearing” member of society whom the church would speak well about and Christians would name their children after. That hour in church on Sunday morning became a cherished facet of one’s life.

For most politicians therefore polygamy became strictly an issue for the underground. In Kenya for instance, the First Lady, Lucy Muthoni Kibaki, has had issues with whoever remotely insinuates that her husband, the lately embattled staunch Catholic Emilio Stanely Mwai Kibaki, has another wife.

If one really had to satisfy the “urge” of polygamy, he stopped at secretly maintaining a mistress on the side without children, we must add, who would act as “evidence” of infidelity. The bolder one got a town wife and “hid” one in the village with whom he started a “concealed” family.

Many of a politician’s escapades with childhood sweet hearts or their sisters, private secretaries, and cases as bizarre as wives of colleagues and nieces of close relatives would remain “fiercely guarded” secrets –occasionally making it in gossip columns as “riddles.”

That way the politician would still enjoy the privilege of sitting on the front pew of the church and receiving Holy Communion and recognition from the priest during Sunday service or better still winning the endorsement of men of the cloth as “God’s anointed” during campaigns for office.

The trick about polygamy? It is easy to hide evidence for the other sins known to the Christian faith like killing, stealing, worshipping other gods, disrespecting one’s parents etc. For polygamy it only takes a woman besides one’s wife and children for all and sundry to know one’s “personal failings.”

A politician may blame the killing of an opponent on “uncoordinated movement of troops.” As for polygamy he carries his own cross. So when a “modern” African man and moreover a politician overtly takes on more than one wife like Jacob Zuma, it is “shocking” because he breaks ranks with many who are “still in the closet.”

The good Sunday morning Christian who maintains an amorous relationship with a little girl at the university- the age of his daughter- feels inadequate due to the boldness or impudence a Jacob Zuma exhibits when he opts not to be imprisoned by public opinion and the hypocrisy that many select in order to live up to the expectations of society.

This is why of all polygamous relationships on the continent Jacob Zuma’s takes the lion’s share of public interest.

Source: The Monitor - Uganda
Europeans have multiple partners but they hide them and call them mistresses ,

What is a problem in having multiple legally(lobola) acquired wives?
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