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Jacob Zuma Essay

1668 words - 7 pages

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma wasborn on April 12, 1942. He is today the President of South Africa – elected by the majority ANC in Parliament after 2009 general election. He is also the President of the African National Congress, which is the governing political party. He served as Deputy President to Thabo Mbeki from 1999-2005. He is also recognized by his initials, JZ, and clan name Msholozi. He became President of ANC on 18 December 2007 when he defeated incumbent Thabo Mbeki. Zuma was a member of South African Communist party and even served on Politburo – the executive decision-making body, in the 1960s. He was charged with rape in 2005 and acquitted. He fought several legal battles for racketeering and corruption charges by the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). Zuma was born in Nkandla, Zululand, now part of KwaZulu-Natal. He was orphaned at a young age. His father was a policeman, and his mother a domestic worker. Zuma received no formal schooling as a young boy. He spent most of his childhood idly, moving through suburbs in and around Zululand. His childhood was deprived, since he grew up in poverty. He engaged in politics early – joining the ANC in 1959. When the ANC was banned in 1961, he joined the armed wing of the ANC, ‘Umkhonto we Sizwe’, or MK in 1962 - translated into the ‘Spear of the Nation’. He fought against Apartheid with other notable ANC leaders including Nelson Mandela, using guerilla warfare and terrorism. They attacked government installations, which led to the group being classified as terrorist organization by South African and American governments – and subsequently, banned. Mandela and ANC leadership were all members of the military wing [MK]. MK suspended operations in 1990, in preparation for the dismantling of apartheid. In 1994, MK members were integrated into the South African National Defense Force.
Zuma joined the South African Communist Party in 1963. That same year, he was arrested along with 45 other recruits near Zeerust, in western Transvaal, currently part of Northwest Province. He was convicted of conspiring to overthrow the minority white apartheid government. He was then sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, which he spent in Robben Island with Nelson Mandela and other notable ANC leaders who were also in prison at the time. Zuma served as a referee for prisoners’ association football games in prison. After his release, Zuma was instrumental in the re-establishment of ANC underground structures in the Natal province. He first left SA in 1975, to meet Thabo Mbeki in Swaziland, and then proceeded to Mozambique where he dealt with thousands of exiles after the wake of the Soweto Uprising. Zuma stayed abroad on exile himself. The Soweto uprisings or riots were a series of clashes in Soweto, South Africa on June 16, 1976, between black youths and South African authorities that led to the deaths of 23 people on the first day. The protests continued until the end of the year, by which time over 500 were...

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