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By Mhlaba Memela | Jan 05, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

UNDER an overcast sky and with the rain drizzling softly, Thobeka Madiba was yesterday accepted into the Zuma family as President Jacob Zuma's wife.

UNDER an overcast sky and with the rain drizzling softly, Thobeka Madiba was yesterday accepted into the Zuma family as President Jacob Zuma's wife.

And hundreds of people were there to witness the traditional wedding, which though initially dubbed a private affair, was later opened to the villagers. They mingled with businesspeople, politicians and celebrities dressed in the latest fashions.

Zuma and his bride were resplendent in traditional garb. He wore his Zulu attire, while the new makoti looked bright in her equally impressive outfit.

Madiba wore colourful Zulu traditional attire of black (isidwaba) with a red hat and danced for a few minutes before the groom, his family and community members.

While his bride performed the Xhosa dance, Zuma sat quietly and smiled. Later he also performed a traditional dance.

He was accompanied by amabutho (warriors) while Madiba came surrounded by maidens from abaThembu clan. The clan was led by Nelson Mandela's grandson, Mandla, who is an inkosi.

Earlier the couple were declared husband and wife after an elder had asked Madiba if she would join the Zuma family. She agreed, and was pronounced Zuma's wife, joining Sizakele Khumalo, the first wife he married in 1973, and Nompumelelo Ntuli, who became his wife in 2007.

The couple and their guests were treated to a feast of traditional entertainment amid tight security. For three hours, Xhosa and Zulu traditional dancers entertained those gathered. Celebrations were scheduled to continue late into the night.

Zuma sat with his brothers Bhekumuzi and Siphiwe as well as KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize.

Among the celebrities were Ukhozi FM DJs Khathide "Ntshatha" Ngobe and Ngizwe Mchunu, Metro FM DJ Siyanda, singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sisonke municipality mayor Patrick Khoza and Mandla Mandela.

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi were also in attendance.

Vusi Mvelase of the abaThembu clan said they had come to celebrate with their sister Madiba. Asked if she was a blood relative of Mandela, he said: "We are here as a clan to support her, but there are other people in the family who might give more details on that."

The VIPs, friends, relatives and well-wishers started gathering outside Zuma's home early, some arriving in luxury 4x4s and German sedans. One guest made a spectacular arrival in a helicopter. A large marquee accommodated the guests, while several goats and sheep were slaughtered for the feast.

"We have deployed extra police officers to make sure that the event goes smoothly," police spokesperson Phindile Radebe said.

Zuma was previously married to former home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, whom he divorced in 1998, and Kate Mantsho-Zuma, who committed suicide in 2000. He is also engaged to Durbanite Gloria Bongi Ngema.


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