Meet the 24-year-old soon-to-be Mrs Zuma

Age gap of 52 years separates former president and latest wife

22 April 2018 - 00:00
By JEFF WICKS
Nonkanyiso Conco  is known to have been an overnight guest at Nkandla since at least 2013.
Image: Facebook Nonkanyiso Conco is known to have been an overnight guest at Nkandla since at least 2013.

A 24-year-old former massage-parlour owner is ready to settle down at Nkandla as Jacob Zuma's seventh wife.

Nonkanyiso Conco, who gave birth to a son on Zuma's 76th birthday on April 12, has been visiting the Nkandla compound since she was 19. Details of their wedding are yet to be announced.

Conco, who is 52 years younger than the former president, is understood to be recovering following a caesarean section at Busamed Hillcrest Hospital.

Several hospital sources confirmed that Zuma visited his wife-to-be on the day the baby was delivered. His platoon of protectors had closed off a section of the maternity ward during the visit.

A hospital staff member, who did not want to be named, said the medical facility had been bristling with activity when the boy was born.

"He [Zuma] didn't only come and visit once, he came three times. All of his guards were here," she said.

The hospital and Conco's gynaecologist refused to comment.

STEEPED IN ZULU TRADITION

Before her engagement to Zuma, Conco was a director of the Pietermaritzburg-based Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development organisation, which promotes and preserves the Zulu cultural practice of virginity testing.

She has participated in the annual reed dance, at which young women present reeds to the Zulu king as a sign of their virgin status.

The new mother, who at one time lived in a cramped flat in Durban's Esplanade area, now lives in the plush Hilltop Estate in Ballito, where properties sell for more than R2-million.

Conco is known to have been an overnight guest at Nkandla since at least 2013.

She tweeted then: "Don't believe this OMG!!! Am going back to that Hollywood house, to spend the whole weekend this time. #Zuma's home @Nkandla. Whoop can't wait."

On Friday she confirmed she was engaged to marry Zuma, but would not be drawn on their courtship or whether her new-born son was fathered by Zuma.

Zuma's family declined to comment on the marriage or the baby.

The Sunday Times has established from publicly available documents that Conco previously ran a massage business that operated from a flat in a high-rise block on Victoria Embankment in Durban.

She is still listed as a director, but the business is in the final phase of deregistration.

GO FORTH AND MULTIPLY

Zuma has as many as 20 children, and is a firm believer in polygamy.

He married Sizakele Khumalo, 78, in 1973 after he was released from Robben Island. Three years later he married Kate Mantsho - the mother of twins Duduzile and Duduzane - who committed suicide in 2000.

In 1982 he married Nkosazana Dlamini but they divorced in 1998.

A year before he became president in 2009, Zuma married Nompumelelo Ntuli, a hotel cleaner, in a traditional ceremony. She was exiled from Nkandla in 2015 after allegedly being linked to a poison plot against the president.

The NPA described MaNtuli as a chief suspect and was considering formally charging her, but no charges have been brought.

Jacob Zuma gets in the mood during a previous marriage ceremony.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali Jacob Zuma gets in the mood during a previous marriage ceremony.

MaNtuli has denied the allegation and her lawyers are pressing the NPA to either charge her or leave her alone.

Zuma married banking assistant Tobeka Madiba in 2010. KaMadiba, who has a daughter with him, is the wife most often seen in public with Zuma.

In 2012, Zuma married Gloria Bongi Ngema, a businesswoman from Umlazi.

Zuma's children born out of wedlock include three he fathered with a Johannesburg woman whose identity is not publicly known.

In 2010 he fathered a baby girl with Sonono Khoza, the daughter of Irvin Khoza, chairman of Orlando Pirates.

uBABA'S BABIES

Jacob Zuma has come under scrutiny for a number of children born out of wedlock, including a baby girl he had in 2010 with Sonono Khoza, the daughter of soccer boss Irvin Khoza.