Mrs. Zuma, and the Contradiction of modern days

Mrs. Bongi Ngema-Zuma
Mrs. Bongi Ngema-Zuma

Today I would like to talk about Mrs. Gloria Bongekile Ngema-Zuma who just gave an interview to BBC. She is Jacob Zuma (J.Z.)‘s fourth wife, married on April 2012.  She is an accomplished woman, educated, and really I have to say it: a contradiction to many young African girls growing.  She is an accomplished professional accountant, and IT manager… and for her to become the fourth wife of somebody, even if that somebody is the president of a nation, is simply tasteless.  I know that it is prestigious to be a president’s wife, but come’ on for the sake of the young girls out there in South Africa, and Africa… is this really the example to be set?  So as a woman, you can be as accomplished as you want, but you are only worth to be a man’s fourth wife?  You cannot be your own person?  Or he cannot love and respect you enough to leave all his other wives?

Jacob Zuma and his fourth wife
Jacob Zuma and his fourth wife, Bongi Ngema

Now, some may ask me if I would have preferred for her to be his mistress? Of course not, but I find it revolting to have a president who has four wives.  I find it disgusting to have a president, in modern days, who holds onto the past, and who cannot make up his mind… because truly that’s is what it all boils down to: decisiveness, discipline, and control.  No wonder there has been violent attacks on Africa ever since Jacob Zuma became president of South Africa: destruction of Côte d’Ivoire after the 180 degrees turn of Zuma, destruction of Libya under the vigilant eye of Zuma, massacre of defenseless miners at the Marikana’s mines, etc.  Is promiscuity now allowed at the top of the state?  There is really something to having one wife, committing to marriage to only that person, and above all, having the oneness of mind, or rather a ‘single’ vision. What should a young girl growing up think?  She can only be powerful if she is in a polygamous marriage; even educated, she is only worth being somebody’s 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wife? Why can’t she be his only wife?

Flag of South Africa
Flag of South Africa

As I listened to Mrs. Zuma’s interview, I have to admit that I was appalled, as she could not even answer the simple question as to why? The only answer was:” I am a grown woman, making my own choices.” Of course, there are lots of grown women around the world making their own choices, but when you are a first lady, you no longer make choices for yourself, you also have to acknowledge impacts on society.  What about young girls?  How can you talk about modernism when there is so much contradiction in your thoughts?  Now, she says she is Zulu first, and then modern woman second.  Yes that’s true, but does she abide by all Zulu rules?  Are all Zulu women in polygamous marriages?  I am African first, but does that mean that our daughters should undergo excision? I am African first, does it mean that servants in the kingdom should still accompany the king in his grave? I am African first, does that mean that albino children or twins (in some African traditions) should still be killed at birth? Of course not!  For somebody, a first lady (or 4th lady), to blurt: “I am Zulu first, then xyz second,” … i.e. that’s why I live in prehistoric ages is simply disgusting.  No offense to Mrs Zuma, but I do not want any of our daughters to see her as an example.  Now, somebody could argue that: ‘maybe she wanted to influence young girls, and she could only do that as the president’s wife’… Sure, but she was already influencing young girls by being the great manager that she was.  If President Zuma and her loved each other, could he not have divorced to marry her? Couldn’t she have waited till the end of his term to be with him? Couldn’t she have influenced the president by demanding that he divorces his other wives? Now, that would have been the symbol of a strong woman whose influence on young girls would have been strongly felt over generations!

Thank goodness there are still other great African women out there who stand for their very own convictions and inspire young African women. What next for J.Z.? A fifth wife for 2013?

BBC Interview of Mrs Zuma

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