Zuma’s kwaito man

2009-09-14 07:04

YOU wouldn’t be blamed if you thought the office of the president was being turned into a music venue.

What with President Jacob Zuma being a wannabe pop idol, with his Mshini Wam’ and dance moves and Collins Chabane bringing in his traditional music flavour. And the Union Buildings have now added kwaito superstar group Trompies’ Eugene Mthethwa to the line-up.

The Magasman singer has traded in his Dickies and spotty for button- down Paul Smith shirts and formal shoes to become the deputy director of public liaison and stakeholder management in the presidency.

But Mthethwa says there won’t be a presidential boy band any time soon. “Music will always be my passion, but I’m done with being a recording artist,” he says. “Now I want to assist people and government understand each other. I understand the position I hold as a role model.”

As if on cue, an informal trader sidles up to him with pirated DVDs going for R35. Mthethwa (41) gives her a lecture about breaking the law and then hands her R30 for food.

“I’m not a judgmental person,” he says. “That’s why I could stand next to a man accused of rape and corruption as a son of a priest married to a bishop’s daughter.”

Mthethwa, who studied but has not yet completed a BA in philosophy, international relations and constitutional law, among others, says he was head-hunted for the government position and has “been ready for a long time” for this kind of challenge.

“I thought I would be suitable for a place in arts and culture but this position is even better because I understand issues of governance even more now. I understand people’s pain and I can selflessly die for other people’s causes rather than my own.

“Baba (Zuma) picked up on my character that I am selfless by nature. That is why I am where I am today.” – Babalwa Shota

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