Bloemfontein businessman marries Baleka Mbete

National Speaker of the Southern African Parliament Baleka Mbethe is getting married to a Bloemfontein Businessman/Photo Maricelle Botha

National Assembly speaker of parliament Baleka Mbete will say “I do” today to a Bloemfontein businessman Nape Khomo.

The wedding ceremony is reported to be held at Gumatama, Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape Province.

Mbete will also celebrate her 67th birthday.

This will be the ANC National Chairwoman’s second marriage. She was married to Keorapetse Kgositsile for 14 years before divorcing in 1992.

The former South African Deputy President and her long-term partner had been dating for five years before the businessman decided to pay lobola for her.

When the Saturday Dispatch arrived at Mbete’s home on Friday, there was ululating. A medium-sized tent has been erected at the home.

While family spokesman and Mbete’s younger brother, Mphakama, would not say how many cows had been asked for lobola, 11 cows arrived at the home yesterday.

To welcome the Khomo family, an ox was slaughtered yesterday.

Mbete’s husband-to-be was summoned to come and see the ox before it could be slaughtered while the bride-to-be stayed indoors.

The marriage had been a closely guarded secret for weeks, with Mphakama telling the Saturday Dispatch yesterday that they wanted it to be an intimate affair of the two families and close friends.

“We are very happy that these two elders have decided to take this step and join the two families and amaHlubi and Sotho people together.

“This will make my sister very happy,” he said.

He said they wanted the ceremony to be private.

“Yes, lobola was paid but that is a family affair,” he said.

Mbete’s friend and ANC veteran Charles Nqakula was the only high-profile guest at the family home yesterday.

Nqakula almost got gored by an ox as it charged at villagers who had gathered in the kraal.

Family elders, in-laws and villagers dispersed as the ox charged towards them. The former defence minister slipped but survived as the ox changed direction.

Nqakula said he could not miss the ceremony for anything.

“Baleka has been a friend for a very long time,” he said.

Villagers also joined in the celebrations.

Bongiwe Ndlobongela, 40, said they were looking forward to witnessing the traditional wedding.

“We are happy that she decided to stick to tradition and culture because she could have had the wedding anywhere but decided to come and celebrate with us.

“This is the first time that we will be seeing a 67-year-old get married,” she quipped.

Lwandlana administrative area traditional leader Jonginceba Mjanyelwa said they were happy that they would also be part of the celebrations.