Zuma, A Biography is an amazing story of a herd boy who beat all odds to become president of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, (2009-current). He is South Africa’s third democratically elected president following in the footsteps of Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela, the global icon. Both Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela were educated presidents, educated in the best educational institutions and graduating as economist and barrister respectively.
Zuma was born on the 12th of April 1942 to the Zuma family at Nkandla, a rural area situated in the state of KwaZulu-Natal the birth place of the Shaka Zule, the great Zulu King. Zuma was the first son to Nobhekisisa Zuma, and Gcinamazwi, his second wife. Gcinamazwi was a domestic worker and Nobhekisisa Zuma a policeman. Jacob was still young when his father passed on. He recalls nothing of his dad.
In the novel, a portrait of Msholozi (Zuma’s praise) as a man of contradictions appears. He is at ease in his leopard skin attire embedded in his Zulus’ deep cultural origins. He is a proud polygamous guy as well as a shrewd modern politician. He’s known for his affable demeanor and grin. Yet, he’s equally eloquent in discussions and the international arena through the intricacies of global economy with no hint that his formal greatest standard of education remains the primary school level.
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In this unauthorized biography, expert journalist Jeremy Gordin takes us through the journey of Jacob Zuma – from his modest beginnings as a herd boy, trade unionist, political prisoner (as was Nelson Mandela), exile life and obviously his presidential ambitions.
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Gordin paints a picture of a guy whose life was never destined for greatness. Zuma spent his childhood years as a herd boy and never had a chance to complete his primary level. Zuma’s family was not rich. However, it was his mother’s work as a domestic worker in the Durban white suburbia that introduced the harsh truths of apartheid to Jacob Zuma.
Gordin takes us through Zuma’s political roll-coaster ride from his dismissal from the deputy presidency to his election as the ANC president in 2007 and his rise to top office – that of the country’s president. Zuma conquered Mbeki his political nemesis in the hotly contested party election in 2007. He afterwards presided over his party’s national executive committee meeting (2008) that determined to request Mbeki to step down as the president, just 6 months prior to the conclusion of his term of office. Mbeki agreed to step down in an emotional address to the nation that was televised.