By Ella Smook

It is already being called the wedding of the year, but a veil of secrecy has been drawn over the pending nuptials of the children of two of southern Africa's powerful politicians.

The daughter of ANC President Jacob Zuma and the son of Professor Welshman Ncube, chief negotiator of Arthur Mutambara's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction in Zimbabwe, are reportedly set to be married this weekend, but details could not be confirmed through official channels.

The wedding of Wesley Ncube and Gugulethu Zuma, actress and daughter of Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who divorced the ANC president in 1998, is expected to be a celebration in two parts.

Zimbabwean newspapers have established that the first ceremony will take place this Saturday at Dlamini-Zuma's home in Pretoria, while the second ceremony will be held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Grounds in Bulawayo a week later.

It is believed that the South African ceremony will be a traditional white wedding, while the Zimbabwean one will be a traditional African affair.

But the families are ostensibly trying to keep publicity to a minimum.

"It is a private matter. You've got to respect it. Fullstop," said Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for Dlamini-Zuma at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

And the groom's father would only tell that he was "rather surprised that a wedding between children of politicians is something of interest to the newspapers".

But it has already been speculated that the binding together of the two powerful families could tighten the relationship between Zuma and Ncube, who are both involved in the efforts to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mutambara's MDC, which is the kingmaker in Zimbabwe and less strict about its terms for a power-sharing agreement than Morgan Tsvangirai's majority MDC, won 10 seats during Zimbabwe's March elections.

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF managed one less seat than the Tsvangirai MDC's 100.

The families are allegedly reluctant to reveal wedding plans in fear that masses of supporters of the famous politicians could descend on the parties, turning them into logistical nightmares.

While Ncube confirmed that he would attend the wedding of his son, who is studying Statistics and Mathematics at the University of Cape Town where he met his future bride, it could not be confirmed whether the father of the bride would be present.