Zuma caught between sex scandals and polygamy

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South Africa’s fourth President Jacob Zuma is embroiled in a new sex scandal. The polygamous President has allegedly fathered a child with the daughter of one of his friends. The news comes shortly after his fifth marriage early this year.

The news has sparked a new political row over his sexual conduct, and the
opposition has been quick to accuse him “of undermining his own government’s safe sex campaign, designed to limit the spread of HIV and AIDS”.

Media outlets are today awash with reports that Zuma fathered a baby girl with a 39-year-old divorcee Sonona Khoza in October last year. Sonono is the daughter of Irvin Khoza, a close friend of the President and the chairman of the organising committee for the world cup. He is also chairman of one of the biggest teams in South Africa (Orlando Pirates) and is vice-president of the South African Football Association.

Accused of rape

In 2006 Zuma was tried and acquitted of raping a family friend who was
HIV positive. His claim that he protected himself from the virus by having a shower after sex prompted widespread ridicule and outrage in South Africa.

Responding to reports, Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance leader, has been quoted saying Zuma’s conduct was damaging to the struggle against HIV and AIDS.

“President Jacob Zuma’s behavior directly contradicts the government’s campaign against multiple sexual partners, and the inherent Aids risk in having unprotected sex,” Zille said in a statement today. “South Africa now has a President who, both through his words and his actions, is doing similar damage to that struggle”.

The Sunday Times which broke the story Sunday, Thandekile Matina, was given Zuma’s surname and was registered as his daughter. Before the news broke out, various media reports set the number of Zuma’s children at 18 or 19.

Sonono is an events manager in the marketing division at the Johannesburg headquarters of Absa Bank. She has two other children from a previous
marriage, reports say.

According to information gleaned from several reports, Irvin Khoza “shared a
stage with Zuma during his post-election celebration at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal in June 2009” and received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of Zululand in 2004, when Zuma was its chancellor.


Early this year, President Zuma got married to his fifth wife, Thobeka Madiba, aged 37. He is also engaged Gloria Bongi Ngema from Durban. It is not known if Zuma would tie the knot with Ngema anytime soon.

Jacob Zuma’s other wives include, Sizakele Khumalo, who he married in 1973, and Nompumelelo MaNtuli-Zuma, who he married in 2007 during a traditional wedding at his Nkandla home.

Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, was also married to the ANC president. Dlamini-Zuma and Jacob Zuma divorced in 1998.

The president was legally married to Kate Zuma who died in 2000.

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