Confusion over fifth first lady ironed out

GETTING ALONG: Nompumelelo Ntuli shares a joke with President Jacob
Zuma's first wife, Sizakele Khumalo, and wife-to-be Thobeka Madiba. Pic: Simphiwe Nkwali. 06/06/2002. © Sowetan.
Jacob Zuma the South African President had a party at his hometown in Nkandla celebrating his victory as the South African President.  Jacob Zuma's wifes sharing alight moment from left is Nompumelelo Ntuli, Sizake Zuma and Thobeka Mabhija dancing Picure: SIMPHIWE NKWALI/ 06/06/2002
GETTING ALONG: Nompumelelo Ntuli shares a joke with President Jacob Zuma's first wife, Sizakele Khumalo, and wife-to-be Thobeka Madiba. Pic: Simphiwe Nkwali. 06/06/2002. © Sowetan. Jacob Zuma the South African President had a party at his hometown in Nkandla celebrating his victory as the South African President. Jacob Zuma's wifes sharing alight moment from left is Nompumelelo Ntuli, Sizake Zuma and Thobeka Mabhija dancing Picure: SIMPHIWE NKWALI/ 06/06/2002

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's long-time sweetheart Thobekile Mabhija, who becomes his fifth wife today, is in fact Thobekile Madiba.

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma's long-time sweetheart Thobekile Mabhija, who becomes his fifth wife today, is in fact Thobekile Madiba.

She is marrying the country's first citizen in the dusty village of Nkandla in a traditional ceremony today.

A senior member of Zuma's family confirmed that her surname was Madiba. He said he did not know what had led to the confusion about her surname.

"We know her as Madiba but some people call her Mabhija. She has clarified the matter of her surname."

The glamorous and outgoing Madiba had been known as Mabhija, her mother's surname.

"Madiba is her father's surname and I got to know about that early this year," said the relative.

"She has been Madiba all along. Unfortunately the media people opted to use Mabhija and now some know her real surname.

"I will not go into detail about how and why she has become known by the other surname."

Meanwhile, Zuma's homestead is a hive of activity this morning as the family and community prepare to welcome the president's new wife.

The couple is expected to exchange vows in a private ceremony. Only close friends and the families are expected to attend.

Madiba performed umbondo (the traditional handing over of gifts) to Zuma's family in January 2008.

Today is exactly a year since Zuma married his fourth wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli, a former nurse.

Last Monday Zuma's latest fiancée, Gloria Bongi Ngema, presented the groom's family with gifts at the homestead, symbolising that the ilobolo had been paid to her family. Ngema is expected to wed Zuma in a traditional ceremony next year.

Madiba and Ngema are both from Umlazi township in Durban. Ngema now works for IBM in Joburg.

Zuma's first wife is Sizakele Khumalo. He was married to the late Kate Mantsho and also to Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. They divorced in 1998.

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