WATCH: Viral 'Zuma must go' grans celebrate his resignation with new song

2018-02-16 15:19

Johannesburg – "What a relief, Zuma is gone."

Jill Hallett, her sister Joan Swanepoel, and lifelong friend Debbie Breedt are sitting in the living room of Hallet's home in Florida, west of Johannesburg, explaining their emotions about former president Jacob Zuma.

The three call themselves the "Zuma must go" nanas. This was after a video of them, taken during the nationwide marches against Zuma last year, became a nationwide sensation.

Jill Hallett, her sister Joan Swanepoel, and lifelong friend Debbie Breedt have a new song for Zuma. (Iavan Pijoos/News24)

The three joined thousands of South Africans to voice their anger against Zuma.

For the women, it was a spontaneous act – they were just doing their "duty" for the country.

ALSO WATCH: The new 'Zuma must goooooo...' remix

"We decided that it was time that everyone stand up together and make a change. That is what happened that day, everybody pulled together, even the taxis," Breedt said.

Hallett said the most remarkable memory of that day was when a woman put her arm around her and said: "You have no idea how you inspired us to stand up".

"It was very humbling. God has given us the ability to go out there and inspire people."

Hallett, 71, is a retired teacher, who has 15 grandchildren who keep her "very busy".

Breedt and Swanepoel described her as a kind, loving person with a generous heart.


"She will drop anything to help anyone. She has this unbelievable love for her grandchildren and her family," her sister Swanepoel said.

Swanepoel is also a retired teacher, who doesn't have any children, but helps her sister Hallett with babysitting.

"We are fortunate in having a very close family," Swanepoel said.

The 71-year-old and her husband celebrated their 50th anniversary this year.

For Swanepoel, her heart lies with the St Catherine's Convent school in Florida, where she started teaching back in 1968.

"I probably spent more time at the school than I spend at my own home. My family, my friends, my faith and my school is what kept me grounded," Swanepoel said.

'We can crack the champagne'

Debbie Breedt, 58, has been working at the Gateway special needs school in Ruimsig for the past 19-years.

Breedt has four children, two of whom stay in the United Kingdom. She and her husband celebrated their 38th anniversary on Friday. They recently found out that they are going to be grandparents.

"We can crack the champagne for two reasons," Breedt jokes.

Breedt has been described as a fun-loving person with a big smile.

ALSO READ: Anti-Zuma truck 'go-slows' block traffic in Cape Town

"She is tremendously creative, that is one of her strengths," Hallet said.

When Zuma stepped down on Wednesday, Swanepoel said she could not control her emotions.

"An absolute relief, but it came at the wrong time. When he finally said that he was resigning, I almost couldn’t believe it, but then I didn't have anyone to celebrate it with," Swanepoel said.

Swanepoel said she immediately sent the news in their family WhatsApp group.

'Never too young or too old'

"We should have been out there celebrating, we still have to be out there celebrating."

Swanepoel said the country needed to remember the people who did the groundwork.

"The investigative journalists, the whistleblowers and all those whistleblowers who brought us to this point. Maybe we added a small part to it," she said.

"You are never too young or too old to make a difference and you just need to stand up and [have] the courage to do it," Breedt said.

Swanepoel said they were hoping that the sense of belonging and pride in the country was back.

'Ramaphosa is the best'

When asked if newly-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa can restore that, Swanepoel smiled and said: "I think so. At the moment, Ramaphosa is the best."

Breedt said they hoped that Ramaphosa would not be corrupted.

"He already has money and he is not here for our money. We hope that the Cabinet he puts in place will be incorruptible. It starts at the top – when the hierarchy is rotten, it filters down."

Swanepoel said most of the change is up to the people.

"We got the power of bringing the people of South Africa together. If we, the people of all races can't get it right, then we are still not going to have a united South Africa."

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  good news

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