But for those who follow the media, mainstream and social, they would be forgiven for thinking that Zuma and his party are the most unpopular institutions in that country. He is derided, looked down upon and scorned.
Let’s turn to South Africa a bit, away from the local scene. There is something quite baffling about South Africa.
It is how the people of that country — or is it a section thereof — relates to their President, Cde Jacob Zuma.
Zuma is the leader of the ruling party, the African National Congress.
At the last general elections in 2014, he won 65.90 percent of the vote with the closest challenger Hellen Zille winning 16.66 percent.
In the popular vote this meant he and his party got 11 436 921 votes against Zille’s Democratic Alliance’s 4 091 584 and the new kids on the block Economic Freedom Fighters led by Julius Malema which polled 1 169 259.
This is such huge popularity by many standards.
But for those who follow the media, mainstream and social, they would be forgiven for thinking that Zuma and his party are the most unpopular institutions in that country.
He is derided, looked down upon and scorned.
Just as the economy has recently fumbled, Zuma took all the flak, even when the causes of the collapse could be located elsewhere from China to New York.
And as fate would have it, a few weeks ago, he appointed someone to head Treasury, an ordinarily routine act but lo and behold he triggered revolt with the so-called markets crashing and the local currency, the rand, hitting an all time low against the dollar.
You would think that he had just redistributed land from the minority whites in that country to poor peasants who own no more than a few square inches of land or paid out huge gratuities to his comrades and veterans of Umkhonto weSizwe!
Isn’t that an equivalent of what is often blamed for the economic downturn in Zimbabwe?
But, no, he didn’t!
This brings us to one chief conundrum from South Africa today — the role of the so-called markets which are but a euphemism for white capital, which is the enemy of black people.
But we have to illustrate this.
“Don’t touch us on our Finance Ministry”, Ranjeni Munusamy a Zuma critic wrote in “A 2016 survival guide for President Zuma” recently.
The “us” and “our” is obviously not the 11 million-plus ANC voters.
It is white capital, which will brook no changes and is manipulative.
It just demonstrated to us that it can unmake a President, who had to beat a hasty retreat in reversing the appointment of some poor guy whose name we don’t care to remember.
The markets — the capitalists — the minority had ruled and this gives an indication of who controls South Africa.
Certainly not the people of Soweto and Diepsloot!
Yet we may be tempted to think that social media campaigns and marches are people power.
They are not.
The same white clique and its media influence events and even mislead how the world, including us here understand issues.
Never mind about human cognition, etc, and denials magic bullets of propaganda.
There are several strategies that are employed to denigrate Zuma — and ultimately undermine the ANC.
First is the attempt to cast him as an uneducated fellow with no economic complexity, who is also a laughing clown.
What is worse is that it is racist stereotyping which has included us being fed the idea that he is more gifted in terms of sex than brains and that his phallic strength equals his propensity for dancing.
You would hate the condescension and snobbery.
Zuma himself revealed recently that, “South Africans cannot believe that a man who never went to school is the President and that is the reason why he must be attacked 24-7 . . .”
His story must inspire, ordinarily.
He says: “I suffered because I never went to school and that is the reason why I decided to educate myself . . . There are people whose business is to say that we cannot have a man who never went to school running a country. We must rubbish him 24-7 . . . No one has ever said it is a miracle for this man to have become president and wrote a column about it.”
He added: “They can’t believe that you come from a poor background and that you have managed to make something of yourself and so they try to make a laughing stock out of you. They try to make you feel like you are not capable and make you feel like you don’t know what you are doing and [you are] just useless. It is even more painful when it comes from those who occupy strategic positions in society . . .”
This is of course a psychological and racist war that blacks should never buy into. We are not sophisticated, though.
But Zuma is not lost to that fact.
He explains: “We are so unfair on ourselves, especially black people. There is no media that attacks white people . . . There was one person who was given a position with just a matric to act as a CEO, and it was not a big deal. If it was a black person, there would have been a lot of noise.”
That blacks join the racist war against Zuma is quite regrettable, and especially tragic when they don’t realise what they are up to.
Attacking the ANC
The ANC is the ruling party of South Africa — the oldest revolutionary movement in Africa.
The detractors of the revolutionary movements are obviously unhappy about the status quo, just like they do not like Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe and do not wish for regional movements to go to revolutionary extremes that Zimbabwe went in addressing colonial imbalances. The ANC has the capacity to do so. It has a mandate to do so.
It has the ideology that dictates it does — perhaps even more than what Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe did in Zimbabwe.
The whites in South Africa and elsewhere run scared.
ANC has to be destroyed.
Apologising to President Zuma
But for this writer there is none other than one editor who did more to situate the problem Zuma faces. Steven Motale last year wrote a piece titled, “I’m sorry, President Zuma”.
Motale explained the entrenched racist mentality that characterised the media in South Africa.
Zuma, South Africa’s third democratically elected President, has been a particular victim at the mercy of smear campaigns.
That is not to say he does not have his indiscretions, which are many, including sex scandals and what can be perceived as corrupt relations.
Explains Motale: “It’s understandable that people might have been horrified at the thought of Zuma becoming the president. I certainly was. I was programmed to believe that a president, at the very least, should have gone to school. I’d forgotten that Abraham Lincoln never went to school and that Adolf Hitler did go to school. Also, the idea of someone with multiple wives running the country filled me with distaste, too, because, I must have been telling myself, I was not that kind of black . . . He simply wasn’t good enough. We’d decided that Zuma would be no good and do no good . . .
“In many ways the president has turned out to be quite measured, reserved and tolerant of us. Better than we may have expected him to be, and more forgiving than I would probably have been in the same position.”
He noted that hating Zuma was a media default mode, also directed at ANC, and “hatred towards Zuma means that little he does or says is ever reported on positively”.
He then concludes: “I’ve been party to the sinister agenda against Zuma, and can only apologise for that. I’m not saying I’m suddenly his biggest fan, but it’s time to admit I’ve been party to the unfairness, along with many of my colleagues.”
The writer is not Zuma’s biggest fan, either, being more inclined towards admiring Julius Malema, but the truth should be said.
Hope to return to the exciting subject of South Africa one day.