Jacob Zuma to become father for 22nd time

Sunday, September 5, 2010

CAPE TOWN - South African President Jacob Zuma, 68, is to become a father for the 22nd time as his fiancée is expecting a child early next year.

Bongiwe Gloria Ngema, who recently accompanied Zuma on a state visit to China, is pregnant, the Daily Telegraph said Saturday, citing media reports.

The pair already have one child and are expected to get married in December, which will bring to four the number of South Africa’s First Ladies.

Reports of the pregnancy comes only a fortnight after the arrival of Zuma’s 21st child, born to the second of his current wives.

The boy, named Manqoba Kholwani which means “believe it”, arrived amid claims that he could be the result of an affair between his mother and her bodyguard. The polygamous

president has dismissed the claims as malicious rumours.

Zuma has faced repeated calls to live a quieter life and devote more of his energies to leading his country out of the poverty which confronts the majority of the population.

Zuma’s advisers insist that, as a proud Zulu, his culture permits him to have as many children as he wants with as many partners as he likes.

However, the president was forced to make a humiliating apology earlier this year following the birth, out of wedlock, of his 20th child to the daughter of a family friend.

While polygamy is accepted in South Africa, the spiralling cost to the taxpayer of Zuma’s cultural observance has led to bitter clashes between the president’s ruling African National Congress and the leading opposition party. News of yet another child and another marriage is bound to reignite the debate.

Filed under: Politics

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