Friday, February 5, 2010

Zumapithecus - The Unwanted Link in African Evolution

Africa boasts, or at least attempts at boasting of very few leaders who we believe epitomize us as a nation. Mandela tops that list. Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere have had longstanding membership in that club. It has never been an easy task to build a life deserving of positive mention amidst the chaos that is African politics and the conflicting interest of nationalism against nepotism and corruption. So I am greatly disappointed at one man who I thought, for whatever the reasons, would manage acceptance to this elitist club. I dare to declare that Jacob Zuma will not be among the men that Africa shall remember with honor.

Having been elected to president of the biggest Economy in Africa, Jacob Zuma has hogged the limelight in local and international media but for all the wrong reasons. When he was said to have married five women of whom one committed suicide and another divorced him, many Africanists and ANC loyalists defended him on the basis that polygamy was nothing new in Africa. It is culture and must be respected as equal to the culture of marrying cousins in Europe. I agreed. It was lost on us all that this man had been charged with the rape of an HIV activist. The court must have had male chauvinists on the bench because they dismissed the charges by the HIV positive activist claiming the encounter was consentual. At least they chastised the ANC leader for ‘recklessness’ when he had uprotected sex with a woman he knew to be HIV positive. He must got off easy fo showering after the act.

Zuma’s personal life has not ceased to be part of national matters. I had restrained myself from making a comment arguing that they were matters of personal morality about which I had no business discussing. It was a moment of weakness and I am clearly over it. South Africa has the highest population of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world! There’s my justification. In a nation that has declared the calamity a national disaster, one would expect Zuma, as the head of state, to show more seriousness in the war against a yet incurable disease. Nelson Mandela went public with the fact that his own brother had died of AIDS. That’s realism. That’s responsibility. That’s Zuma’s disqualification from the elite club.

African culture is beautiful and varied, but we must not fool ourselves to wear the hangman’s noose as a necktie. Some of the items on our lists of traditional practices are working against us. Female Genital Mutilation, Wife Inheritance, Early Marriage, Boy Child Superiority. Some of them we may never get to know are still being practiced. If leader around the continent do not emancipate themselves form their ignorance or in Zuma’s case arrogance, then we may well be fighting a losing battle. Zuma owes South Africa the decency to behave in a manner befitting a president. It doesn’t matter if ANC leader have declared it a personal matter. Resigning from the Zuma support club and brandishing my Africanist lifetime membership card, I am declaring Jacob Zuma as holder of South African interests and responsible to act unselfishly and owing due care to his constituents and to Africa. Sigh!

But even the jury of ‘private matters’ would find him gulty and sentence him to harsh punishment. After recently officially marrying a fifth wife, Zuma has been reported to have sired yet another child with a woman not in the list of five! Well, that may not be surprising given his track record. But the tale twists on revelation that the woman in question is the daughter of his best friend, Irvin Khosa. In his defence, Zuma say he has paid nhlawulo, a traditional acknowledgement of paternity for Sonono Khosa. If I had a friend who knocked up my daughter I would sue him for betrayal, indecency, attempted murder, stupidity, insanity and any other ‘personal crimes’ that my lawyer friends would advise. I trust that the judge would find him guilty of all said and imagined crimes and sentence him to a life without further friends and to death as a lone destitute!


Oh, and I hear Zuma has paid dowry price for Sebentile Dlamini, a Swazi Princess and is also engaged to Gloria Bongekile Ngema, with whom he has a 3-year-old son. I am sure there is a refund of 'Lobola' which is what the consideration is called. There must be a good lawyer who can find a loophole in the engagement contracts and deliver these two women from further misery.

Shame on you Jacob Gedleyihlekisa ZumaAfrica will remember you in dishonor!

The Tin Man.


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