South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has
hinted he may be ready to take a fifth wife to accompany him through old
age, the daily newspaper The Star said Wednesday.
During a visit to a Durban township Tuesday in KwaZulu-Natal, the
72-year-old said in Zulu “Angakayakhi indlu yokugugela… laba
ngisabathathile nje” (I do have wives but I’m yet to marry my last one).
The crowd, most of them elderly, laughed and cheered, The Star said.
Zuma, who on Sunday said he was in “perfect condition” after a stay
in hospital in June, had earlier given a speech about the need to
respect and tend for older people. Sihawu Ngubane, a professor at
KwaZulu-Natal University, was quoted by the newspaper as saying it was
fairly standard among Zulu people for a man who practises polygamy to
take a last wife for his last years, sometimes the younger sister of one
of his wives.
“They call the last wife ‘indlu yokugugela’ (the home in which I
will age in) because the responsibility of looking after the husband in
their old age predominantly lies with the junior wife, who is often
younger than the other wives and more agile in case there is an
emergency,” he said.
Zuma, who has around 20 children, has married
six times but currently has four wives on the state’s budget, despite
criticism from some tax-payers.