From clever blacks to Jesus: Jacob Zuma in quotes

2014-09-01 17:55

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In his latest quote to cause a stir, President Jacob Zuma said Jesus must return to “cleanse us of our sins, because we have caused more damage than before”.

Here is a selection of some of Zuma’s other interesting quotes over the years:

Earlier this year, Zuma fluffed his numbers, causing much amusement.

In 2012, Zuma addressed the National House of Traditional Leaders on the Traditional Courts Bill. He said African problems should be solved the African way and slammed black people “who become too clever”.

“If we work together as a nation, South Africa will be a better place,” Zuma said, adding that the ANC would rule until “that man” (Jesus Christ) comes back. He was speaking at the official opening and handover of the Ngidini Senior Primary School in Libode, Eastern Cape, earlier this year. Picture: Gallo Images

Zuma speaking about the need to pay e-tolls in October 2013.

“Same sex marriage is a disgrace to the nation and to God. When I was growing up, ‘ungqingili’ [homosexuals in isiZulu] could not stand in front of me, I would knock him out,” Zuma said to thousands of supporters at Heritage Day celebrations in KwaZulu-Natal on September 26 2006. He offered an apology after the comment caused a national outcry, arguing that he “did not intend to have this interpreted as a condemnation of gays and lesbians”. Picture: Deaan Vivier/Foto24

Zuma – speaking about his daughter Duduzile’s marriage in August 2012 – said: “I was also happy because I wouldn’t want to stay with daughters who are not getting married. Because that in itself is a problem in society. I know that people today think being single is nice.“It’s actually not right. That’s a distortion. You’ve got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman ­because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a ­mother. Picture: Elizabeth Sejake/City Press

Zuma, in a speech given at Impendle in KwaZulu-Natal in 2012, said that spending money to buy a dog and taking it to the vet and for walks, belonged to “white” culture.He was also reported to have said that those who loved dogs more than people had “a lack of humanity”. The presidency later sent out a statement in which it explained that Zuma was only trying to “decolonise the African mind” with his statements. Picture: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

In what is now one of his most famous quotes, Zuma told the court during his rape trial that he took a shower to reduce the risk of HIV after having sex with an HIV-positive woman. “It... would minimise the risk of contracting the disease,” he said. Picture: Dudu Mathebula/City Press

Or is Zuma simply misunderstood?

The controversies that Zuma’s public remarks sometimes trigger have been attributed to cultural misunderstandings between the president and those who interpret his messages.

Mark Sanders, who lectures in comparative literature at New York University, has suggested that Zuma’s use of the isiZulu idiom in his public statements is sometimes misconstrued.

Using examples from Zuma’s 2006 rape trial, during which he addressed the court in isiZulu, Sanders says that nuances in his speech are sometimes lost in translation.

The misunderstood Mr Zuma?

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