South African President Jacob Zuma is set to marry for the sixth time next weekend, making long-term fiancée Gloria Bongi Ngema his fourth current wife, his spokesman says.
Jacob Zuma is a Zulu traditionalist, and polygamy is legal in South Africa.
His spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said the private ceremony would take place in Nkandla in KwaZulu Natal province.
“I can confirm that President Zuma will formalise his relationship with his fiancee, Ms Bongi Ngema, in a private traditional ceremony at Nkandla this weekend,” Mac Maharaj told AFP.
South Africa’s president, a known polygamist, will be married the sixth time.
“The president currently has three wives. This will be his fourth wife,” Mac Maharaj said.
Jacob Zuma usually takes one wife with him on official events, on a rotating basis.
Gloria Bongi Ngema, who accompanied Jacob Zuma on a state visit to the G20 summit in South Korea last year, has a three-year-old son with him. She has a business degree among other academic qualifications.
He divorced Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa’s candidate for the African Union top post, in 1998. Another wife, Kate, committed suicide in 2000.
Jacob Zuma, who became president in 2009, recently celebrated his 70th birthday and has 21 children.
A statement on the president’s website said there would be no cost to the government for next weekend’s ceremony, nor did the state pay for the maintenance of the four spouses’ households.
Jacob Zuma’s adventures with women have often sparked controversy. In 2006 he was acquitted of rape charges after having consensual sex with an HIV-positive activist and family friend. He famously told the court he had taken a shower to protect himself against infection.
In 2009 he fathered a child with the daughter of 2010 World Cup local chief Irvin Khoza on the eve of the global event.
Asked at his birthday party Friday whether he was done with marriage, Jacob Zuma replied: “I think so.”