South African President Jacob Zuma married for the sixth time his long-time fiancee on Friday.
His new bride Bongi Ngema is a well-known activist and a former information technology worker. She is said to have accompanied the president already on foreign visits.
"President Jacob Zuma has today, 20 April 2012, married Ms Bongi Ngema at a traditional ceremony known as umgcagco at his home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal," his office said in a statement according to the Telegraph.
"A wedding reception will be held this evening, and tomorrow there will be the umabo, where the bride showers the groom's family with gifts," the statement added.
The marriage ceremony was held in a traditional manner with a Zulu celebratory dance after the groom tied the knot on the bride. The marriage took place in Zuma's rural home village and the groom dressed in a traditional leopard skin costume with a warrior's shiel, AFP reported.
Ngema is the president's fourth current wife. They both already have a seven year-old son from their relationship. Apart from that, Zuma has 20 children from his previous marriages. The polygamous president, who turned 70 last week, has also been married to five other women.
He married his first wife Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo in 1973. He married his second wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a cabinet minister, and divorced her later. His third wife Kate Mantsho committed suicide. Zuma married his fourth wife Nompumelelo Ntuli in 2008 and the fifth wife Thobeka Stacie Madiba in 2010. All his current three wives attended the ceremony.
According to AFP reports, the South African nation does not have a First Lady position. They have no responsibilities at state and official functions. None of the wives have a constitutional role or receive any state funds. But they do enjoy some benefits including a personal secretary and researcher and travel to domestic and international places. They also get a daily allowance during official trips.
Although polygamy is legal in South Africa, a survey conducted in 2010 found nearly 75 per cent of South Africans disapprove the practice while, 83 per cent of women disapproved. The practice is becoming less popular as more South Africans are getting influenced by western concepts.