SUNDAY TIMES - Zuma Splashes Out
Sunday Times STLive By Bongani Mthethwa , 2012-04-22 00:42:56.0

Zuma Splashes Out

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma spared no expense for his lavish two-day wedding to long-time fiancée Bongekile Ngema at his family homestead in Nkandla, northern KwaZulu Natal, this weekend.

Six cattle, which cost about R9000 each, and several goats were slaughtered.

The bill for the entertainment and a Durban-based florist and décor company, Zwi's Florist Décor, which spent more than two days decorating a giant marquee for the reception, was a closely guarded secret.

More than 800 guests, relatives and villagers attended the nuptials on Friday.

Yesterday, the couple's union was sealed with the umabo ceremony, where traditionally the bride's family presents gifts to the groom's family.

Since Monday, police and the presidential protection unit watched over the preparations at KwaNxamala village, Zuma's rural home in Nkandla.

But several guests on Friday were stunned when Zuma's controversial eldest son, Edward, 35, compared a Chinese delegation to a "rugby team" before chasing a businesswoman's daughter from the homestead.

Witnesses described how Edward moved around the homestead, enlisting the services of VIP protection services to help him purge the media . As he walked through the crowd, he confronted the daughter of SA Chinese Women's Association vice-chairwoman Anita Zhu.

Edward demanded to see Zhu's daughter's invitation and then instructed her to take her camera out of the property.

"There's too many of you. You're like a rugby team," he snapped at Zhu's daughter, who declined to disclose her name. She left the homestead and returned later with her invitation.

Zhu would not discuss the incident.

"There's nothing really to say ... we understand the protocol," she said.

Zhu and her family had been personally invited to the wedding by Ngema.

The SA Chinese Women's Association, which has supported a host of projects spearheaded by the Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation, recently donated food parcels and school socks and shoes to about 1300 pupils in Durban's Umlazi township.

Edward could not be reached for comment, although the Sunday Times left several messages on his cellphone.

However, the incident did not mar the celebrations, which started when Ngema's family arrived at the homestead on Friday morning with a truckload of goods, including a new bedroom suite.

Zuma, clad in a leopard-skin ibheshu with matching headgear, emerged from one of the houses in his homestead, accompanied by men dressed in full Zulu warrior regalia and singing traditional war songs.

Ngema performed a solo dance while carrying a knife, which symbolised that she had formally accepted Zuma as her husband.

At the reception on Friday evening, the menu included cocktail samoosas and sausage rolls, Greek meatballs and chicken nuggets for starters, while the main course included oven-roasted leg of lamb, savoury braised rice, samp and a variety of vegetables.

Throughout most of the evening, the couple were seated on two identical white and silver leather chairs - described as a "throne set-up" - on stage in front of more than 50 large decorated tables occupied by the guests.

The guest list included Durban businessman Vivian Reddy, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.

It is understood the event was also attended by Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi and foreign ambassadors.

Three generators powered the air conditioners, lights, plasma TV screens and 24 sound speakers. The master of ceremonies, Ukhozi FM DJ Linda Sibiya, had the guests in stitches by imitating former president Nelson Mandela and IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Ngema is officially Zuma's sixth wife after Sizakele MaKhumalo-Zuma, whom he married in 1973, Nompumelelo MaNtuli-Zuma and Tobeka KaMadiba-Zuma. He divorced Home Affairs Minister Nkosa-zana Dlamini-Zuma in 1998. Another wife, Kate Zuma, committed suicide two years later.