He may be the most controversial figure in African politics — a
skirt-chasing, self-described "Zulu Boy" shrouded by accusations of
corruption and rape who marches to a catchy tune called "Bring Me My
South Africa, meet your next president.
Jacob Zuma, the 65-year-old "100 Percent Zulu Boy" and new leader of
South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC), has garnered the
popular support of communists and young people, some of whom publicly
display anti-gay and anti-feminist views.
South African presidents are chosen by the 400 members of the
directly-elected National Assembly, one of the two houses of parliament.
Although more than a dozen parties are represented in parliament, the
ruling ANC has been the main player in South African politics since
1994, which means that Zuma is the most likely successor when current
president Thabo Mbeki steps down.
(The ANC's rivals include the Democratic Alliance (DA), the biggest
opposition party, and the predominantly Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party
Women's groups may be sounding off over the values of the polygamist president-to-be, but Zuma is no stranger to controversy.
In the most recent installment on his path to the South African
presidency, one that could be mistaken for an episode of HBO's "Big
Love," Zuma took his fourth wife over the weekend.
Zuma has an estimated 20 children by six different women. His eldest
wife, Sizakele Khumao, has renounced her "first lady" status in favor
of his new 33-year-old wife.
A former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is South Africa's foreign
minister and a potential political rival. Another wife killed herself
Despite Zuma's removal as deputy president of South Africa after fraud
charges two years ago, and subsequent corruption and rape charges, the
ANC announced this week that the party will support his candidacy for
the national presidency.
During his rape trial, Zuma took a "short skirt" excuse, claiming it
was his duty as a Zulu warrior to have sex with a woman if she wore a
short kanga (an African wrap), and that he could not leave her
Zuma told the court that he knew the woman was "clearly aroused" by the
fact that her kanga was "quite short" — meaning knee-length.
"In the Zulu culture, you cannot just leave a woman if she is ready," he explained.
According to his defense team, Zulu men have sexual primacy over women. Therefore, he could not be guilty.
"To deny her sex, that would have been tantamount to rape," Zuma claimed.
The accusing woman, who was 31 and HIV-positive at the time of the
incident, is the daughter of one of Zuma's now-dead liberation-war
She alleged that when she went for advice in late 2005 to the home of
the man she had known since childhood and had always called "uncle,"
Zuma forced his 250-pound frame upon her.
During the subsequent trial, thousands of Zuma's supporters congregated
outside the courthouse, chanting "kill the ***" and pelting the
accuser with rocks as she arrived each morning. She was given police
protection due to death threats.
At one point, Zuma was caught attempting to bribe the victim's aunt
with an offer of two cows and a new garden fence in exchange for
persuading the victim to withdraw the allegations.
But was Zuma, the former head of the National AIDS Council in a country
where one in seven citizens are HIV-positive, and aware of the woman's
HIV-positive status, concerned about unprotected sex?
"I had a shower afterwards," Zuma explained after announcing that he had chosen not to use a condom.
In a country where, according to human rights groups, a woman is raped
every 26 seconds, Zuma was found not guilty. His accuser has been
granted asylum in the Netherlands.
Zuma's throngs of supporters, who refer to him as simply "JZ," dismiss
the rape and corruption allegations as plots masterminded by government
intelligence agents to prevent his rise to power.
Zuma has also been accused of taking bribes in a defense-contract
scandal for which he still faces trial, as well as charges of
consorting with criminals, prostitutes and corruption.
Despite claims that the judiciary is independent, he will have
significant influence over his own prosecution as the head of the ANC.
A recent KPMG auditing report alleges that the man at the center of the
defense-contract scandal, fraud convict Schabir Shaik, spent over $21
million on Zuma's children, including allowances, cars and cash payment
for a wedding.
The report also suggests that Shaik and his companies footed the bill for Zuma's household and travel expenses.
Zuma faces 16 charges, including one charge of racketeering, two counts
of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.
Ironically, Zuma's problems have only increased his support among the poverty-stricken and the oppressed.
Under President Mbeki, discontent has escalated in the black population.
Most South African blacks still live in shocking conditions, with one
person murdered every 20 minutes and unemployment at 90 percent in some
In his striking political comeback, Zuma, who often wears a traditional
cowhide robe and Zulu shield, led his thousands of supporters Tuesday,
many from the Young Communist League, in preparation to succeed Mbeki
as the new ANC leader.
Zuma left home at 16 and joined the ANC as a foot soldier for the armed
wing of the liberation movement, Umkhonto we Sizwe or "Spear of the
At 21, he was arrested for conspiring to overthrow the apartheid
government and served 10 years in prison alongside liberation hero
Nelson Mandela — as well as his rape accuser's father — in the
notorious jail on Robben Island just offshore from Cape Town.
Mbeki is also a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, but unlike
Zuma, he is an intellectual who left South Africa to pursue an
economics degree in England during the anti-apartheid struggle and
never spent time in prison.
A series of corruption scandals, including the theft of millions intended for vital drugs, increased opinion against Mbeki.
Zuma has signaled his intent to "Africanize" the country, and there
rumors he plans to seize some white-owned South African farms.
In neighboring Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's "Africanization" land-reform
policies have brought famine to his country through the seizure of
Ironically, while Mbeki has been criticized for his refusal to take
action against the dictatorial Mugabe, a fellow veteran of the
liberation struggle, Zuma has called for a tougher South African stance.
Thirteen years after emerging from apartheid and starting down the path
of Mandela's "Rainbow Nation", South Africa, Africa's superpower and
largest economy now embarks down the road of "Bring Me My Machine Gun."
I have no further comment.
It's an unpopular truth but South Africa was better under aparthied than it is under these pretty much marxist rulers. Not that either system is desirable in any way.
The atoms tell the atoms so, for I never was or will but atoms forevermore be.
Why didn't the non-whites in South Africa simply create their own civilization? Why was not having access to white South Africans' society an oppression? I'm very ignorant about the intricacies of South African history, but let me ask a simple question that may or may not accurately reflect SA and it's history.
. There are 2 groups of people. One consists of 10,000 people and the other consists of 1,000 people. The 10,000 people have access to their own land and the 1,000 people have access to their own land. If the 1,000 people are well-off and the 10,000 people are dirt poor, how is this the 1,000's fault?
Here's two popular Afrikans on Youtube:
"The best way to bail out the economy is with liberty, not with federal reserve notes." - pairunoyd
"The vision of the Austrian must be greater than the blindness of the sheeple." - pairunoyd