An open letter to Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma

Dear Nompumelelo,

I liked your style right from the moment I saw that picture of you at your wedding wearing a dress that appeared to have been made entirely out of banknotes. You don’t get classier than that. Your husband must have had fun undressing you that night! I hope you got it all back. Of course you did. He is the president of South Africa. If he of all people can’t be trusted, who can we trust?

I presume that you still consider Jacob Zuma to be your husband. After all, you haven’t broken your marital vows. Unless, of course, there was something in the contract about not poisoning your spouse. It seems unlikely, though. Vows tend to focus on what you should do. Love. Honour. Be nice to the other wives. That sort of thing. There’s not much said about what you shouldn’t do. Could be a loophole. Use it, don’t use it.

Personally, I don’t believe it. For a start, where on earth would you have got poison from? Unless it’s Durban Poison we’re talking about. There must be fields of it around Nkandla. But that wouldn’t have made your husband ill. It would have made him giggle and … oh, wait. Maybe you gave him some of that super-strong skunk and he got all paranoid and introspective and wanted to resign because he thought he wasn’t up to the job and … no, that’s probably not it, either.

There was a time last year that he didn’t look particularly well. Some people suggested it might have something to do with that awkward business with an HIV-positive woman in 2006. Ridiculous. He showered afterwards.

Luckily, it turned out that he had simply been poisoned. Well, that’s what American doctors told him when you and he visited that country in August last year. Of course he didn’t believe them. American doctors are paid by the pharmaceutical companies to lie about everything. You go to them with a sprained wrist and before you know it they’ll chop off your hand and sell you a $5-million prosthetic that speaks nine languages and fires incendiary bullets from the fingers.

Your husband did the right thing by going to Russia for a second opinion. Russian doctors will tell you whatever you want to hear. All you need is money.

But why are you the chief suspect, Nompu? Why not one of the others? Judging by your girth, you appear to be the largest of the wives. I mean this as a compliment. Your stature does, however, lend itself to speculation that you might have been spending an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen. Your mistake was to arouse suspicions and not the president.

When there is an unexplained illness or death in any polygamist’s household, I expect there’s no lack of motives. Were you not perhaps attempting to poison the other wives but your husband kept scoffing their food?

Jacob was understandably upset by your unconventional interpretation of having and holding him in sickness and in health. Fortunately, he must have watched The Godfather when he was younger and knew there was only one way to deal with this. Omerta. The code of silence. It’s often the only thing that keeps people in power and out of jail.

I understand you are now persona non grata at Nkandla and are living in Durban North. Good for you. That’s where I grew up. In fact, my father still lives there. Having a suspected poisoner in the area will do wonders for property values.

Anyway, if you and Jake do get back together, I’d like to recommend a book for you. It’s by someone called Jay Mann and is titled “How to Poison Your Spouse the Natural Way”.

Good luck!

 

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