The magnificence of Zuma

2008-01-09 00:00

A few months ago, when Jacob Zuma was wriggling about all slippery-like in his rape trial, he was interviewed by a TV reporter while participating in one of the many traditional blood-letting festivals which take place in that rotting mosquito-infested swamp they call KwaZulu-Natal.

He was half-naked and draped in leopard skins accessorised with springbok offcuts and a splash of lion. Speaking of his trial, he told the reporter: “People must not think I’m an animal.” I laughed so much that I fell off the couch and had a small accident in my broeks and had to tell Brenda that I accidentally spilled beer in my lap.

Zuma was on TV news on Saturday evening. He was getting married. Again. And, again, he was dressed as a leopard.

He looked magnificent. Like some sort of rare animorph hybrid.

This time, Zuma didn’t speak to any reporters. He didn’t have to, because something far funnier happened. He was crouched on the ground sniffing the air and intently studying the movements of his prey. He appeared disinterested in the ones who were swaying their skinny little hips to the sound of an unseen drum. The one he had his eye on looked fit and healthy. Plenty of meat on those bones. She smiled coyly and waved her traditional umbrella in the air, setting up a tsunami of flesh that undulated up and down her well-fed body.

Zuma’s eyes narrowed. His tail stiffened. In a flash he was up on his padded Reeboks, flailing his fighting stick and moving with an agility befitting the spirit of the animal that rested lightly on his shoulders. Clearly a graduate of the Johnny Clegg School of Dancing, Zuma raised one leg and slammed it to the ground. Then he raised the other leg and slammed it to the ground. Then he lost his balance and fell over. Yes. That’s the kind of president I want. The kind who can topple over, legs in the air and still laugh like a madman.

After eating a cow, his delicate bride made a start at shedding the extra 250 kilograms by dancing with her new husband. Photographs in the anti-revolutionary Sunday press made it appear as if Zuma were about to use his stick on the future first lady.

Like most men who dabble in domestic abuse, my first thought was: “She must have done something wrong.” I studied the pictures closely. In MaNtuli’s mouth was one of those whistles that women carry in their handbags should they come across a rapist.

Then I saw it. Number One Wife had forgotten her top. She remembered to bring her shield and panga along, then pitched up wearing nothing but a skirt, a family of meerkats and her 44E bra. Zuma’s relatively modest 44B chest wobbled in outrage. MaNtuli blew her whistle. Wobble. Whistle. Wobble. Whistle.

Meanwhile, back at the wedding, MaNtuli was draping white beads around her beloved’s neck as a symbol of her acceptance of him as her husband. Beads? Beads are for hippies and queers. Comrade Jacob, if you’re reading this, make sure your next wife drapes a string of Great White Shark’s teeth around your neck. On second thoughts, you probably want to avoid anything associated with the colour white. Get the locals to string you a necklace of black mamba teeth. It’s the least they can do. After all, you’ve been stringing them along for years.

Husbands throughout the Nkandla district must be sick of hearing how wonderful you are.

“Zweli, why can’t you be more like Jacob? He pays his children’s school fees, he flies his family to Cuba for holidays and he’s always got petrol in his car.”

Zweli shrugs his shoulders. He knows the old Zulu truism: never fear when Schabir is near. He also knows what happens when a tick bird gets greedy and eats the cow. Zweli takes another hit from the paint tin and smiles.

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