Conference set to elevate Msholozi to cult status

Don Makatile

Don Makatile

While the ANC conference has been rather kind to commerce, one man stands to achieve the saleable cult status normally considered the sole preserve of the likes of soccer star David Beckham.

By the time he leaves the campus of the University of Limpopo, venue of the conference, deputy president of the ANC Jacob Zuma will be on more T-shirts and played on even more audio systems than many of the superstars of the world.

At present, fashion has taken advantage of the faces of famed revolutionary Che Guevara and, locally, the father of Black Consciousness Steve Biko, among others.

But Zuma has gone one step further - with CDs and DVDs carrying his message.

Lucky Zibi and his comrades stand outside the main gate of the university doing a roaring trade. This is all thanks to the commercial value of the man known largely by his clan name Msholozi.

A copy of the DVD that's "selling like hot cakes" is priced at a modest R80, says Zibi. Contained in the DVD, Jacob Zuma - Troubles, Trials and Tribulations: A Journey Ahead, is information that might already be in the public domain and "a few other truths you may not have known about".

In two days, the merchants were left with a handful of copies from the initial stock of 2000, says a rather pleased Zibi. They will obviously get more, depending on demand.

But by the looks of it, demand is likely to surpass supply as the Zunami sweeps through the Sepedi-speaking university town.

A certain percentage of the sales would go towards the Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust, says Zibi.

The idea is that the children who benefit from the trust should not be left to suffer: "We operate from the premise that my child is your child, and your child is my child. So if you can help educate a child, any child, then do so."

Inside the grounds of the university, there's an area that resembles a flea market - various ANC and alliance memorabilia are on sale here.

Golf shirts, beadwork, baseball caps and isicholo - the Zulu head geargiven prominence by MaMkhize - "fly off the shelves".

Zuma again takes centre stage - stacks of his CDs and another DVD, Jacob Zuma - Some Key Moments of My Life, are on sale. Among the artists featured in the CD are Ihashi Elimhlophe, Mxo and Mfiliseni Magubane.

Black Coffee sings the trademark Zuma hit Umshini Wam, featuring the man himself.