A picture of eNCA recording former president Jacob Zuma’s soon-to-be seventh wife, Nonkanyiso Conco, was uploaded to social media and drew comment because of the obvious awkwardness of it.
The cheerful young Zulu maiden, who is now 24 years old, stands confidently in the shot while the cameraman and interviewee look the other way.
One user explained that, apparently, in Zulu culture it’s “not allowed to look at mkhulu’s [big man’s] wife, hence they have to look the other way!”
However, it’s not clear when the photo was taken, and it is presumably from several years ago, since Conco no longer participates as a maiden in the Zulu Reed Dance. It’s also probably just a deceptive shot, since it looks as though both men are just briefly looking at someone talking to them from over their shoulders, making it look as though they’re avoiding looking at Conco.
Nevertheless, the image is still pretty funny.
The outfit she is wearing matches a picture of her from this 2013 article, in which she was interviewed about not wanting to allow people from other races to be part of Zulu tradition.
At the time, she and other young women accused King Goodwill Zwelithini of “giving preferential treatment to Indian and white maidens while paying scant attention to people who had been the backbone of the event since it was revived 29 years ago”.
Etv interviewing 24 year old, Nonkanyiso Conco the new wife of South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma. Conco will join Zuma’s 4 other wives to become wife number 5. Its not allowed to look at mkhulu’s wife hence they have to look the other way! pic.twitter.com/1xmVj10ljH
— Okello Onyango ‘wuon sibuor’ Jakalam (@theonlyjaluo) April 22, 2018
Conco reportedly gave birth to Zuma’s baby last week at a private hospital in Durban. It was his 23rd known child.
She was for many years a member of an organisation that advocates virginity testing and no sex before marriage. In her teens, she joined the Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation, which is based in Pietermaritzburg and promotes indigenous culture and values. She is no longer a member, however, but attended the Zulu Reed Dance for many years.
She reportedly studied journalism at Varsity College Durban North in 2014 and 2015 and worked as an intern at a Zulu newspaper in Durban during these years.
According to reports, she now lives in the exclusive Hilltop Estate at the Zimbali Coastal Estate near Ballito. It’s speculated that her change in lifestyle came after meeting Zuma.
In 2013, when she was 19, she tweeted: “Don’t believe this OMG!!! Am going back to that Hollywood house, to spend the whole weekend this time! #Zuma’s home @Nkandla. Whop [sic]. Can’t Wait.”
Conco then reportedly started going to expensive clubs and dressing better. She got a car and moved into an upmarket flat.
She has already changed her name on Twitter and Facebook to Nonkanyiso Conco Zuma.