The agonising heat that engulfed the most of the northern part of KZN was not enough to deter thousands of locals from attending Jacob Zuma’s umabo or wedding-after gift ceremony.
Most of the traditional wedding had taken place on Friday, with the Zuma and members of his family formally accepting the Bongi Ngema to the family fold by spreading bile on her. Young women and men danced and sang as the ceremony unfolded.
Later on Friday the ceremony moved to the big marquee at the open space near the Mnyakanya High where the observed their wedding vows and together cut the cake.
Journalists were barred from entering the tent, where the ceremony took place and Ukhozi DJ MC’ed. Traditional musicians shared the stage as guest – which included well-healed businessmen and women - were treated to exquisite meals.
Yesterday locals, some wearing colourful traditional gear and men carrying their sticks, began trickling early in the morning. For a moment the president’s phalanx of bodyguards and VIP protection officers were lax with entrance requirements and locals moved in freely and mingled with Zuma’s extended family members in the multi-million homestead.
Later in the day high-powered guests began arriving in their gleaming SUV, 4X4 and sedans. KZN premier arrived after 2pm. He was quickly shown where Zuma was seating with a group of esteemed men and eating meat from a traditional wooden tray.
The meat was aplenty as a total of eight cows were slaughtered for the ceremony and hundreds of men were feasting in one of Zuma’s kraal.
The official umabo began after three when the bride arrived at the kraal, accompanied by a bevy of singing and dancing maidens. Later Makhumalo, MaNtuli arrived in the kraal and took their place in the corner of the kraal.
Zuma arrived later and the umabo began in the earnest. At the end of it all, Zuma’ wedding was a big day in Nkandla.