Zuma, Obama and that awkward phone call

By admin
30 September 2015

What would you do if the leader of the so-called free world approached you, hand stretched out and you were on the phone?

Well, if you were President Jacob Zuma you would smile, shake hands, but continue with your call.

A photo of US President Barack Obama greeting Zuma, who is speaking on the phone at a luncheon hosted by United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on Monday made the rounds this week on social media and news websites.

In the photo Zuma remains seated, phone pressed to the ear.

However, the humour is not lost on Obama who seems to tease Zuma by mimicking him on the phone.

Public sentiments seem to be mixed with some believing this was a sign of disrespect, while others felt it was a light-hearted moment.

The presidency could not be immediately reached for comment.

Zuma is currently leading a South African delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York.

During his address on Monday, Zuma called for reform of the UN Security Council pointing out the world had changed since 1945 and African countries were no longer colonies, but sovereign states.

Africa is pushing for two permanent seats on the council.

There was mixed reaction to the photo on social media.

Some felt it was Obama who was being disrespectful for approaching Zuma while on the phone. Another Twitter user called it bad etiquette on Zuma's side.

Others saw the humour in the photo and created their own context to it, with one twitter user tweeting: "Not sure how you can expect Jacob Zuma to put the phone down on Atul Gupta to greet Barack Obama. Priorities people."

And some were not sure what all the fuss was about. "To me, the Zuma/Obama shot catches a candid moment between both leaders. A joke appears to be shared in an informal setting. Chill," Barry Bateman tweeted.


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