Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa will say “I do” to businesswoman Philisiwe Buthelezi in a lavish French-inspired wedding next weekend. Buthelezi says she is feeling nervous in the lead-up to her big day, but all is going according to plan.
The minister will tie the knot at Alle Bleue Wine Estate in Franschhoek, Western Cape, on Saturday, just two days after Valentine’s Day.
The couple, who met during an ANC conference, have been together for four years.
The Sunday Independent spoke to the soon-to-be Mrs Mthethwa on the couple’s nuptials and she was all giggles and smiles on Friday.
“I am very excited but it is a combination of mixed feelings, mostly anxiety, but everything is going according to plan, we are just finalising a few minor details but it is looking good.”
The wedding is set to take place in the scenic vineyards of Franschhoek, which are known for their exquisite tented weddings with luxury styling and designer touches. The couple have chosen the picturesque venue because of Buthelezi’s love for France. “I love the French influence because I left South Africa when I was 19, so I grew up there. Franschhoek is perfect in that it brings in that strong French influence, but we will combine it with a little Zulu influence.”
The couple are both originally from KwaZulu-Natal. Mthethwa hails from KwaMbonambi, while Buthelezi is from Mahlabathini. “My parents moved to Pietermaritzburg where my father later died. I was one of eight children, the fourth girl in the family.”
Today Buthelezi is a successful businesswoman. She is the chief executive officer of National Empowerment Fund, chairwoman of Group Five Limited and a non-executive director at Sanlam Limited.
When asked about marrying a high-profile South African like the minister, she said: “I don’t know what it means to be a high-profile person. He is just Nathi to me, he is my partner, my everything. He doesn’t look at me as a high-profile businesswoman but as a partner.”
Buthelezi laughed when asked if she had been married before. “Oh my, this is the first and the last time that I am getting married.”
Buthelezi won’t say much about the wedding dress. “I can’t disclose who the designer is but I can tell you that it is an international designer. I have chosen to wear two dresses for the ceremony, one is done by a local designer and the other, which I will change into, will be imported.”
Buthelezi gets married a day before her birthday. “My hubby-to-be and I talked about celebrating our birthdays together because he celebrated his birthday two weeks ago, but we also needed to set a date for the big day, we then chose the Valentine weekend,” Buthelezi said.
She said their wedding day was a celebration of their life and love together. “We are celebrating the few blessings in our lives that we have not been able to. Our love, our successes,” Buthelezi said.
And where are they going for their honeymoon? “We are going away but I wouldn’t like to share our destination with the media.
“We have very demanding schedules so he had to apply for his leave from the president.”
On how the minister proposed, Buthelezi said: “He is so romantic. When he proposed, he got on one knee and said (in Zulu) Shenge, (calling her by her clan name) will you marry me?”
She said they had decided to have a white wedding first and the traditional one later. “We are doing everything in bits and pieces but to tell you the truth I am not a traditionalist.” She added: “I can’t wait to be Mrs Mthethwa, be a part of the family and when I am not caught up with work commitments, I will go home and cook and scrub the floors in my pinafore.” - Sunday Independent