Jacob Zuma’s first wife is always the last to know

Celani Sikhakhane

For more than 50 years Jacob Zuma has kept his first wife Sizakele Makhumalo in the dark.

Sources inside the family said that 81-year-old Makhumalo only learnt on Thursday that her husband is likely to spend more than seven months in prison.

“Before he left on Wednesday night, he told Makhumalo that he was leaving for prison for one night and promised her he would be back the next day,” a source said. 

Zuma was sentenced to 15 months behind bars by the ConCourt last Tuesday after he defied its order to appear at the state capture commission inquiry chaired by Deputy Chief Raymond Zondo.

A family member told Scrolla.Africa that Zuma visited a house to have supper with Makhumalo and four other elderly women, who were part of the family, on Wednesday night.

They revealed that on the same night, Zuma performed various rituals and went to the kraal with his brothers to report to his ancestors that he had decided to go to jail. 

This is not the first time Makhumalo has heard about seismic changes to her husband’s life through the media.

In 2018, she learnt about her husband’s marriage to his seventh wife through the media.

In 1973, Zuma was released from prison after serving ten years and six months for conspiring to overthrow the government. When he was finally released, he paid lobola for Makhumalo before going into exile. But this was a detail he never even told Makhumalo about.

“He did not tell me he was going to skip the country,” Makhumalo said in an interview.