Newly elected ANC president Jacob Zuma is a man who lives in two worlds.
In one, he's an unashamed Zulu traditionalist who lives according to what his culture dictates. In the other, his high-ranking position in the ANC, which has often taken him abroad, has also seen him embrace Western culture, complete with its rich trappings.
His two wives, Sizakele, better known as MaKhumalo, and Nompumelelo, referred to as MaNtuli, represent these two worlds.
Sizakele, Zuma's first wife, is a deep-rooted, no-nonsense Zulu traditionalist. Having married Zuma as a young farm boy in 1959, she still embraces the patriarchal thinking that a woman's place is in the kitchen.
Nompumelelo, 33, the more outspoken of the two, is very much a city girl. The young woman from KwaMaphumulo near Stanger, who has two children by Zuma, often accompanies him to social functions.
But both are committed and supportive of their man, despite his much-publicised infidelities.
Gender activists criticised Zuma for not protecting his wives, after he admitted in court during his rape trial that he had unprotected sex with an HIV-positive woman.
His observation that his accuser had signalled she wanted to have sex with him by wearing a knee-length skirt, and sat with uncrossed legs, saw him labelled a male chauvinist.
Zuma was also painted as a poor family man, following news that his wife, Kate, had committed suicide because of his alleged disregard for his family.
Wearing headscarves - a sign of respect - Sizakele and Nompumelelo defended their husband's integrity, describing him as warm, jolly and caring.
When Zuma was elected ANC president on Tuesday, the two celebrated quietly indoors while the rest of the family turned Zuma's homestead into a discotheque, drinking into the early hours.
"Sometimes I couldn't believe the papers were talking about the same man who is my husband," said Nompumelelo, wearing an ANC-coloured kanga bearing Zuma's face and a top with Zuma's clan names written all over it.
"It was always difficult for him, as he had to explain to us that he was not what the papers were painting him to be. But he did not need to, because we know the type of man he is.
"He is always smiling and warm. You will never find him in a bad mood. I believe that is why people love and respect him so much," said Nompumelelo.
Sizakele said it was difficult comforting Zuma, as he showed no signs that he was taking strain during his rape and corruption trials.
"When he came home we all expected him to be down in the dumps. We would sit thinking of ways to comfort him, but he would arrive home smiling as usual. He ended up being the one comforting us," said Sizakele.
"It was the most painful period and I will be happier if the current charges (of corruption) are dropped completely," said Sizakele.
Sizakele, in her 48 years of marriage, was the most affected by her husband's political activism, which often saw them apart for long spells.
She was first separated from Zuma as his girlfriend when he spent 10 years on Robben Island, and as his wife when he had to go into exile for 14 years.
"I still worry about his welfare when he is not at home, especially when he is overseas.
"But he gives us a call regularly. I sleep happier when I see him on television, because I know then that he is alive and well. TV for us has become our only way of seeing our husband regularly, as his political career takes him away from home," said Sizakele.
Newspapers have already started speculating about which of Zuma's wives will be the official first lady should he become president of the country.
Besides Sizakele and Nompumelelo, Zuma is also in the process of paying lobola for Thobeka Stacey Mabhija, 35, with whom he has two children.
In 1998 he divorced Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, with whom he has four daughters. His other wife, Kate, committed suicide in 2000. They had five children.
Both Sizakele and Nompumelelo said it was up to their husband to decide who would be first lady, but they were willing to support him in any capacity.
"I don't want fame," said Nompumelelo.
"Fame brings trouble. I am happy to walk around town without people saying 'Here is Zuma's wife'.
"But I do understand that we will be in the spotlight now that our husband is the president of the ANC. But it is up to ubaba (Zuma) to decide if he wants us to go with him, because he is the one who is famous, not us," said Nompumelelo.
Sizakele said her shyness had made her opt to stay out of the limelight. "I'm simply scared of people. Ubaba (Zuma) once took me to the inauguration of the president (Thabo Mbeki).
I was petrified when cameras started flashing as I walked down the red carpet. I kept on thinking that I was going to fall down, as I had to walk fast to keep up with my husband. I thought that since I was new to this, my friend (Zuma) would hold my hand, but he just walked faster," she said, pointing to a photo of her and Zuma that day.
"We can't hide ourselves any more. Those days are long gone. What I have learnt is that men need strong women to succeed. We can't always rely on ubaba to provide for us. We have to start fending for ourselves."
In true traditionalist spirit of being the country's possible first ladies, the two said they wanted to empower women in the area, so they could become independent.
"I've always loved farming and we have some good, arable land," Sizakele said.
"We can get women in the area to plant vegetables and to do poultry farming to alleviate the poverty and hunger."
With their husband now in one of the country's most powerful positions, their dreams could soon become a reality.