Sipho Masondo and Poloko Tau, City Press
Johannesburg - Julius Malema’s traditional wedding to Mantwa Matlala this weekend was full of the bling and drama expected from the charismatic and controversial leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Before the big day, Malema bought his bride an expensive engagement ring glittering with blue diamonds, a source said on condition of anonymity.
The source said three weeks ago, Malema and his bride-to-be’s friends organised a grand surprise bridal shower for her at The Saxon Hotel in Sandton.
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“There were about 15 ladies at the event. They were entertained by male strippers prancing up and down and stripping to the point of being almost naked.
“Prized Champagne was flowing and good fun was had by all. Obviously, she received many gifts from the friends,” said the source.
But not all of Malema’s close friends were celebrating with him this weekend – there had been a fallout over money.
City Press heard that Malema did not invite two of his closest friends, Collins Foromo and Jacob Lebogo, to the ceremony which started on Saturday and ended today in Malema’s home town of Seshego, Polokwane.
Not a typical township wedding
On Saturday, Malema’s convoy of flashy German sedans could be heard from a distance, hooting as it snaked through Seshego Zone 1 to Matlala’s parents’ house.
Although he could not be clearly identified through the tinted windows of a gold Mercedes-Benz E-Class, a security official said Malema had been in the car leading the convoy.
He was sitting in the back with his grandmother, Sarah Malema, while his 8-year-old son, Ratanang, sat in front.
Locals crowded the street outside the Matlalas’ double-storey home dubbed “Shoprite” because of its size.
They were hoping to catch a glimpse of Malema and Matlala dancing to traditional songs after exchanging vows, but his was not to be a typical township wedding attended by all.
Security was tight around the Matlala house, the huge air-conditioned white marquee erected next to it and a security checkpoint 250m away.
Guards were dressed in black suits, white shirts and red ties.
Countless people were turned away as their names did not appear on the list, including members of the bride’s church and staunch EFF supporters in red berets.
Most community members were happy to stand at the checkpoint and greet famous faces.
They included EFF chairperson Dali Mpofu, Malema’s lawyer Tumi Mokwena – who arrived in a traditional Zulu leopard skin – former Muvhango actress Lerato Moloi, former Limpopo premier Cassel Mathale and former MECs Pinky Kekana and Clifford Motsepe.
An unknown trio of guests arrived in a helicopter accompanied by bodyguards. including one carrying an automatic rifle. They landed 1km away and were driven to the venue in a Golf 7.
Inside the venue Matlala – surrounded by female friends and family – arrived in a burst of colour.
She was resplendent in a layered fuchsia tulle skirt and navy bodice with traditional detailing. A beaming Malema was more modestly dressed, in revolutionary chic, in a simple unembellished blue dashiki.
But outsiders couldn’t see a thing because the marquee was surrounded by a blue fence – even its windows were draped shut.
At a house across the road, a group of women sat ululating and singing along to traditional wedding songs played inside the marquee.
Others were hanging from fences and standing on the back of bakkies hoping to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.
The wedding was also about who wasn’t there, most notably Foromo and Lebogo.
Foromo is a wealthy tenderpreneur, while Lebogo, a former ANC Youth League secretary in Limpopo, runs an adult shop in the Polokwane city centre.
The two stood by Malema when he was axed from the ANC in 2011, when he started the EFF last year and during his woes with the SA Revenue Service.
One source, who is friends with both men, said: “I can tell you now, there is no way that Jacob and Collins … can go to that wedding. He did not invite them.
“They were closer than his family.”
However, Foromo’s business partner, Charles Rampura, told City Press by phone that he was at the wedding. He said this even before any questions were posed to him.
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'I don't know why they fought'
“I’m at the wedding and I’m entering the marquee as we speak, but I can’t talk to you now. Please call me later in the evening,” he said.
Foromo and Lebogo could not be reached for comment.
Another source close to Foromo, who works for one of his many companies, said: “I know for sure that he [Foromo] … is not going.
“I never thought that his friendship with Malema could end this way. They were friends and were always together.”
Another source said: “I don’t know the finer details, but I know that Collins and Jacob fought with Malema and he decided not to invite them to his wedding. I don’t know why they fought.”
Limpopo’s wedding of the year was designed and managed by Two Way Exhibitions & Events and the marquees were sourced from Western Cape-based Downings Marquee Hiring.
Neighbours said a horse and trailer were seen delivering alcohol at the Matlala home on Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, at the other end of Zone 1, workers on Saturday were putting the finishing touches to another huge marquee blocking the street in front of Malema’s grandmother’s double-storey house.
This is where the second party of the wedding had taken place on Sunday.
The word on the street was that Malema’s family had requested that he should dance in the street with his new wife at his house – as is the norm at an African traditional wedding.
This is where perhaps the community will finally get a glimpse of the EFF leader and his new wife.
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