The New South Africa And Women`s Rights—ANC Head Adds A Fourth Wife
January 05, 2008, 03:33 PM
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I hadn't been following the election of Jacob Zuma as president of the African National Congress, the ruling party of South Africa, other that this item from the genially witty I, Ectomorph:
Quote of the day:
"I am happy Zuma won because under his rule women will have fewer rights," said Johannesburg parking attendant Brilliant Khambule.
It just works on all levels.
But, Brilliant does seem to have a point. The Washington Post reports:
Zuma, 65, is a former guerrilla with no formal education and a personal theme song, "Bring Me My Machine Gun," that evokes the party's history of armed struggle rather than its more recent emphasis on the unglamorous work of reconciliation.As a polygamist with a reported 16 children—as well as a former rape defendant acquitted in 2006—Zuma has alienated many South African women, and his personal life threatens to tarnish the party's image as a champion of gender equality. The wedding, scheduled for Saturday, would bring the number of his current wives to four, news reports say. ...

His ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is South Africa's foreign minister and, according to many reports, Mbeki's preferred successor as party leader before Zuma's election last month. Another wife, Kate Zuma, killed herself in 2000. In a scathing suicide note, published by a South African newspaper, she wrote that her married life was "hell."

Among Zuma's three current wives is his first, Sizakele Zuma, news reports here say. His marriage to Ntuli would make four.

Zuma's sexual encounter with a family friend infected with HIV also became public fodder after she accused him of rape. Zuma defeated those charges in court, but statements from the trial — including his assertions that her knee-length skirt made clear her sexual intentions and that his culture compelled him to satisfy her—outraged women's rights groups.

But many of his supporters reached a different conclusion about that trial, saying the rape charges came only after the family of the woman, who was not publicly named, tried but failed to have Zuma take her as a wife.