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Things you may not know about Jacob Zuma

How well do you know your president?

- Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma. Born on April 12, 1942, in Nkandla, South Africa

- Jacob's middle name, Gedleyihlekisa, encapsulates the household tensions -- the name, given to him by his father, is a shortened form of the Zulu sentence "ngeke ngithule umuntu engigedla engihlekisa" ( I won't keep quiet when someone deceives me with a beautiful smile while he is doing damage to me) -- a name pregnant with meaning, if there ever was one.

- Zuma is also referred to by his initials JZ and his clan name Msholozi

- His father was a policeman who died when Zuma was five years old, and his mother a domestic worker.

- As a result, Zuma was never formally educated because he was forced to help support his mother (the second wife of his father) instead of going to school. He taught himself how to read and write Zulu in the bushes while the other children went to school. Nevertheless, he speaks French, Russian, Xhoso, Zulu, Portuguese and Swahili fluently

- As a child, Zuma constantly moved around Natal Province and the suburbs of Durban in the area of Umkhumbane (near Chesterville).

- He has two brothers, Michael and Joseph.

- Zuma began engaging in politics at an early age and joined the African National Congress in 1959

- He became an active member of Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1962.

- Zuma joined the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1963.That year, he was arrested with a group of 45 recruits near Zeerust in the western Transvaal, currently part of the North West Province. Convicted of conspiring to overthrow the Apartheid government, Zuma was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment, which he served on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela and other notable ANC leaders also imprisoned during this time.

- According to a short autobiography Zuma wrote when he was part of the South African Communist Party, he received military training in the Soviet Union before joining the African National Congress' feared Department of Intelligence as the Head of Intelligence.

- Whilst imprisoned, Zuma served as a referee for prisoners' association football games, organised by the prisoners' own governing body, Makana F.A

- Zuma first left South Africa in 1975 and met Thabo Mbeki in Swaziland, and proceeded to Mozambique, where he dealt with the arrival of thousands of exiles in the wake of the Soweto uprising.

- Mbeki taught Zuma how to use a gun

- Following the end of the ban on the ANC in February 1990, Zuma was one of the first ANC leaders to return to South Africa to begin the process of negotiations

- Jacob Zuma is a self proclaimed polygamist who has been married six times.

- For his first marriage Zuma was unemployed, but wanted to marry his childhood sweetheart, Sizakele Gertrude Khumalo. The wedding was finally financed, to a large extent, by Mrs DM Wall of the West Midlands in England. She was linked to the International Defence and Aid Fund that helped sustain political activists who, upon their release from prison, often found themselves unemployable.

- In 2009/10 Zuma received a budget of at least R15 517 500.00 per year for "spousal support", almost twice the amount paid during the terms in office of Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, leading for suggestions that only Zuma's first wife should receive state support

- Zuma paid 10 cattle as lobola for fiancé Swazi princess Sebentile Dlamini in 2003.

- Zuma, as President of South Africa, was required to declare his financial interests within 60 days of taking office. But, as of March 2010, he had failed to do so, nine months after taking office.This led to calls for him to do so by opposition parties, and ANC alliance partner COSATU. ANC spokesman, Brian Sokutu, stated that Zuma constituted a "special case", because of his "large family" making it difficult to declare his assets. The ANC later distanced itself from this statement. Zuma disclosed his interests shortly after.

Remarks made by Zuma over the years:

- Zuma's solution to pregnancy in South African teenagers is to confiscate their babies and have the mothers taken to colleges and "forced" to obtain degrees and also to make sure that the condoms are available in diverse institutions.

- Zuma also drew censure from religious and secular groups alike when he declared that the ANC would rule South Africa until the return of Jesus Christ, and that its continued governance was just what God wanted:

- God expects us to rule this country because we are the only organisation which was blessed by pastors when it was formed. It is even blessed in Heaven. That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back. We should not allow anyone to govern our city when we are ruling the country.

- Zuma later defended his remarks by describing them as a "political expression": "Talking about Jesus is not abusing his name; it's actually saying historically, 'This is what the ANC is all about.'

- In January 2012, Zuma gave a speech at the ANC Centennial 2012 celebrations in Bloemfontein, South Africa and afterwards sang the song "Dubul' ibhunu" ("Shoot the Boer").

- Zuma describes same sex marriages as "a disgrace to the nation and to God,"adding: "When I was growing up, an ungqingili (a rude Zulu word for homosexual) would not have stood in front of me. I would have knocked him out."

- "Never before has our country celebrated a life as what we are doing with that of Madiba. We do not call Madiba the father of our rainbow nation merely for political correctness and relevance. We do so because he laid a firm foundation for the South Africa of our dreams, one that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous"

- “Thank you very much for a fine win, you have made us proud as a nation. In my view you had more shots at goal and you could have scored more goals. You really deserve this victory. I am here to congratulate you because you have made the country proud. I am also happy that we had former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki here to witness this historic victory, showing that we came out in full force to support you – which means you had no option but to win. Thank you very much for this performance, well done. It was absolutely wonderful watching you, the country is very happy. We are all proud of you,” said President Zuma after Bafana beat Spain 1-0.


SOURCES: www.wikipedia.org, www.huffingtonpost.com, inside-politics.org, www.scribd.com and www.supersport.com