Social media jaunt lets Zuma have last laugh - he he he

19 December 2018 - 07:58
By S'thembiso Msomi
Former president Jacob Zuma.
Image: FILE Former president Jacob Zuma.

Who would have thought that former president Jacob Zuma would end 2018 on a high note?

Granted, there are still 12 days to go to the end of the year and another controversy may just flare up in those days involving our scandal-prone former head of state.

But still, 2018 has been such an annus horribilis for Msholozi that one would have thought he'd spend the festive season hiding himself at his fortress not far from the Nkandla forest down in Zululand.

An overseas trip, possibly to the Emirates where his infamous friends are said to be hiding, also seemed a reasonable possibility.

But not for our Msholozi. Instead, he decided that he'll end the year hogging all the public attention by, as he said, "moving with the times" and joining social media.

And life on the internet has never been the same again.

Since joining Twitter on Friday, Msholozi has amassed over 122000 followers. Some are his die-hard supporters, others his fierce opponents as well as those just keen to read and hear what he has got to say.

If there is indeed a big political game behind his foray into the arena dominated by people Zuma used to dismiss as "clever blacks", the renowned political chess-master hasn't yet revealed it through his posts.

What he has done, though, is to remind us that the man some playfully call Nxamza is, and always will be, a big charmer.

Whereas just a few months ago the mere mention of his name would invite derision, the Twitterati now seem to be loving every statement he makes.

All because he has proven to be such a good sport on social media, a man totally different from that Zuma who used to read long and sleep-inducing speeches during the official opening of parliament.

Just yesterday he posted a video of himself playing a game of soccer with a group children. His ball control and kicking skills were worse than those of Thamsanqa Gabuza, but at least he did score a goal, which is something we can't say of the Orlando Pirates striker over the past few months.

Accompanying the video was a message from Zuma saying someone must tell Bafana coach Stuart Baxter "that I'm match fit".

When @CapeTownCityFC responded by saying their coach Benni McCarthy was watching carefully, Zuma reacted: "Yerr, I'm so happy! My agent will be in touch"... and then his trademark "he he he he".

South Africa
Jacob Zuma's top five tweets (so far)
7 months ago

But perhaps his funniest tweet so far was when he received a welcome message from an account purporting to be that of his son Duduzane. Zuma's response was: "Thank you very much for welcoming me but who are you because my son is not on Twitter?"

Speaking of Duduzane, remember that letter discovered among the Gupta e-mails suggesting that Zuma owned a mansion in Dubai? The letter formed part of the basis of a Sunday Times story alleging that the then president owned a house in that rich Middle East city.

This weekend Msholozi sought to turn the tables on the newspaper, first confirming that he was selling "one of my properties" to pay for some of his legal costs and then adding: "I would appreciate if they could provide me with the title deed & address of the house I own in Dubai so that I can sell it because I don't know anything about it".

Is Zuma the one actually writing these tweets? Probably not all of them. But clearly whoever does it for him has his permission.

This being Msholozi, though, rest assured there is a political game behind it all.