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Politicians In Relationships With Uncomfortable Age Gaps

Jacob Zuma, who served as the president of South Africa from 2009 to 2018, is a polygamist and has some notable age gaps between himself and his wives. In January 2010, he married his third wife, Tobeka Madiba, in a private ceremony. He was 67, according to The Guardian, and Madiba was 36, giving them a 31-year age gap. They share three children.

Zuma then married Gloria Bongekile Ngema in 2012, according to The U.S. Sun, with his three other wives in attendance. Madiba was there, along with Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo-Zuma, his first wife, and Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, his second. There’s a 23-year age gap between Zuma and Ngema.

Zuma defended his stance on polygamy, saying, per The Guardian, “There are plenty of politicians who have mistresses and children that they hide so as to pretend they’re monogamous. I prefer to be open. I love my wives and I’m proud of my children.” While polygamy is legal in South Africa, it has become notably less popular with younger generations. As The Guardian reported, it’s seen as “expensive and old fashioned.” However, for Zuma, it’s a viable option. In total, he has been married six times, though he and one of his wives divorced and another allegedly died by suicide. He has 23 children.

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