Ludzidzini- Swaziland (PANA) -- Swaziland's King Mswati III over the weekend officially married an eighth wife who had been his fiancee for almost five years now.
Royal palace sources said Monday that Liphovela LaGija, as she is officially known, was married on Saturday through the Swazi traditional rite of "Kuteka.
" A reliable source close to the royal family said that the king's elder sisters conducted the marriage at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence.
Under the "Kuteka" type of marriage, a group of old women confront the would-be wife right inside the bedroom or hut where she would be sleeping with her boyfriend.
The women would shout her name and the boyfriend is supposed to throw her out and open the door for the women if she refuses to go out willingly.
Then the woman would be taken to a cattle byre where she would be stripped naked on the top and forced to hold a spear smeared with cow dung.
The older women then hurl all sorts of insults against her until she cries.
She is made to remain like that until sunrise when relatives of the new wife would come and "free" her after being shown a compensatory beast for marrying their daughter.
In such marriages the would-be wife is not informed nor her relatives.
She is grabbed just like that no matter if she intended marrying the said boyfriend or not.
This is what happened to LaGija (nee Angel Dlamini) when she was married to the 34-year-old absolute monarch over the weekend.
LaGija becomes the king's eighth official wife after LaMasango, who was chosen later than her, but was married before her.
Royal sources said the reason the King had been reluctant to marry LaGija could had been that since she joined the royal family, she has not produced any children.
It could not be established on Monday whether she is now pregnant or not, but royal sources told PANA that there were strong suspicions that she may be pregnant.
The king has another fiancee in waiting for marriage.
She is Nontsetselelo Magongo, a 17-year-old girl who was forced to drop out of school by the wife-hungry king last year.
Some concerns have been expressed at the increasing number Of the king's wives given the rising number of HIV and AIDS cases in the tiny kingdom.
The king, who is playing a pivotal role in the fight against the incurable disease, is on record having emphasised that husbands and wives should stick to their partners.
Apparently, this counsel is reserved for King Mswati III"s subjects only and not him.
Medical sources expressed fears that if the king's marrying spree continues, the monarch may be exposed to the danger of acquiring the deadly human immune virus that leads to the hitherto incurable AIDS.