JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is getting married again.
Zuma will wed long-time fiancee Gloria Bongi Ngema next weekend at his expansive homestead in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal province, the president's spokesman confirmed Sunday. This will be Zuma's sixth marriage, and Ngema will be his fourth current wife.
Bride-to-be Ngema, who is from Umlazi township near Durban, last year joined the president on a diplomatic trip to France.
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Zuma has a three-year-old son with Ngema, South Africa's Sunday Times reported. He has about 20 children in total.
Zuma, a Zulu traditionalist who recently celebrated his 70th birthday, follows polygamy under South African laws that allow only one civil union, but multiple customary marriages.
Some critics have argued that Zuma’s polygamy sends the wrong message to a country with an AIDS epidemic and where billboard campaigns urge men to only have one steady partner to limit their risk.
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Zuma's upcoming wedding will be a private family ceremony in Nkandla, with costs paid for by Zuma, spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
"We request that that privacy of the couple and the family be respected," the statement said.
Zuma is divorced from Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the current Home Affairs minister. Zuma was also married to Kate Mantsho, who killed herself in 2000, reportedly leaving a note that said her marriage with Zuma had been “24 years of hell.”
In 2002, Zuma paid 10 cows as lobola for a Swazi princess, but the wedding never took place.
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