On air: Is Zuma’s private life of ‘public interest’?

President Zuma’s office says he has 19 children, though we’re not sure if that includes the most recent one which he confirmed this week was born last October to a woman who isn’t one of this three wives.

What Jacob Zuma has had to say:
He says he’s done all the “cultural imperatives” that the child brings. He goes on…

‘I said during World Aids Day that we must all take personal responsibility for our actions. I have done so.’

What the SA government recommends in its HIV prevention advice: regular condom use and faithfulness to one partner.

Do you take issue with his private life? Is the amount of children he has, or the number of partners he has had, relevant to his ability to do his job?

Or are those who criticise, people who don’t understand some the Zulu traditions and beliefs that shape Mr Zuma’s life?

83 Responses to “On air: Is Zuma’s private life of ‘public interest’?”

  1. February 4, 2010 at 11:37

    Hypocrisy! Zuma has acted exactly like a typical hypocrite, how can he tell people to be careful with their sexual behaiour yet he is a sexual addict. He is a public property and people all over the world are concerned about his moral integrity. He has misled the nation and he must apologize.

  2. February 4, 2010 at 11:38

    Hypocrisy! Zuma has acted exactly like a typical hypocrite, how can he tell people to be careful with their sexual behaiour yet he is a sexual addict ? He is a public property and people all over the world are concerned about his moral integrity. He has misled the nation and he must apologize.

  3. 3 Elizabeth Kuranchie
    February 4, 2010 at 11:47

    Of course it is of public interest. We shouldn’t forget that he is a public figure! If public is “attached” to your status, then it means everything about you will be public,public. But how is he being treated as a public figure to catch the attention of public interest? We need to answer that question.
    He is a President and as a matter of fact, the people of his country and continent all look up to him. Yes, he is married to four wives-he hasn’t exceeded the number of wives that a muslim is entitled to! Well understood!
    How is his marriage? Is he always quarreling with his spouses? The public must know!

  4. February 4, 2010 at 11:52

    Citizens expect their leaders to be exemplary. Even if the leader is charismatic he should not go against basic rules of decency. Here’s a politician who flouts conservative and conventional norms. Does Zuma deserve to lead to lead such a great nation? Of course one thinks of Nelson Mandela and sees the differences immediately. Mandella is head and shoulders above Zuma. Perhaps South Africa will never have a President like Nelson Mandella again. Perhaps we should not expect too much of Zuma and should not compare him to an icon like Mandella. But we should at least expect some exemplary standards from a President of a great nation!!

  5. 5 Nigel
    February 4, 2010 at 12:01

    He is a public figure but we should not judge him based on our Western standards. He should only be judged by his people.

  6. February 4, 2010 at 13:07

    For Zuma at such an age to be still very sexually active must make men of his age envy him. He should share his secret with them and let the world know how sex affects his political decisions, in other words can he act as president with full duty without sex?

    However it’s no fun to regard a president as sexually potent while his policies are impotent considering widespread unemployment, poverty and crimes plaguing the country.

    His sexual conduct can be used by his opponents to fuel criticism of his failing policies. He can also offer opportunity to frustrated people to joke about his sex life, which is again no fun for an acting president.

    • 7 Rhona Proxenos
      February 16, 2010 at 16:15

      What the international community are unaware of is that SA is still very divided along ethnic lines. Mr Thabo MBeki and Mr Mandella are both Xhoza by birth and their choice of cabinet ministers were consequently also predominantly Xhoza. President Zuma is a Zulu and this explains the purging of MEC’s of late. The Zulu nation is a very autocratic people that believe that they are better than every one else – even the truly indiginous people of SA eg. the Koi and the San etc.

      However the hurts of apartheid are still very raw in the minds of the people. The ANC were their martyrs, freedom fighters and saviours and are are now their benefactors in that the ruling party is buying their popularity by giving away houses, electricity and water and grants of every kind to the poor under the guise of the redistribution of wealth policy.

      The fact that the public not only accepted but supported all his indiscretions indicate that he has a strong following in the ANC and in SA..

  7. 8 Tholumusa Favoured Mlalazi (Zimbabwe)
    February 4, 2010 at 13:10

    In as much as Public fugures are entitled to a private life, let us not forget that .. “to whom much is given, much would be required…”
    Tough luck ther Comrade Mtshini wam’ (My machine Gun).

  8. February 4, 2010 at 13:30

    South African will be hearing more from Mr Zuma, I feel there is still more surprises to come

  9. 11 Alex V - Chicago
    February 4, 2010 at 13:52

    Yes and no–people will always be interested in what their politicians are doing, regardless of what country. Yet, on the other hand, there needs to be some room for privacy.

  10. 12 patti in cape coral
    February 4, 2010 at 13:52

    Personally, the only time a public official or head of state’s sex life annoys me is if he builds his campaign and public persona on a platform of family values and religious ideals, or if he is using public funds to finance his private affairs. Other than that, I don’t really care. I can understand that some people will suspect you of dishonesty in your public life if they find out about dishonesty in your private life, though.

  11. 13 steve
    February 4, 2010 at 14:24

    Argh, was kind of hoping you’d do a show on Obama cancelling the US’s manned space program. That’s a bit more impactful than some politician whatever he feels like doing. There will be plenty more stories about this, and other politicians in the fu ture, however US manned spaceflight is now ended.

  12. February 4, 2010 at 14:28

    Am a South African in Kenya and people are askng me questionabt Zuma tht i cnt answer.am deeply ashamd to call him my president..it’s so sad to have hm as a head of state…his charisma wil nt take him anywhere..he’s morally filthy.

  13. 15 Denise in Chicago
    February 4, 2010 at 14:45

    Citizens have a right to expect decent, moral behavior from those elected to lead and represent them. Zuma is an embarrassment to his country. And 20 children?!? He needs a vasectomy!

  14. 16 Fiona
    February 4, 2010 at 14:55

    Zuma seems to have forgotten the that as a leader he has to set an example. Fine some African traditions accept polygamy, but definitely promiscuity.

    Also with HIV/AIDS it’s really disappointing, and that’s why his private behaviour is of most concern.

  15. 17 Mumbuna Kufekisa
    February 4, 2010 at 15:02

    Zuma’s sex life and marital status maybe his private life with his beliefs and customs but it will definately affect his ability to perform his duty in every sense.This too will ahve a bearing in the use of SA public funds to keep up with his ego.
    .He is going to wory 20 times moer about hte well being of eachh chils ,its safety education and future.This will have its own toll on his strees levels and he is 20 more times likely to need medical attention arising out of stress.
    The state will have to pay or spend 4 more times on each spouse to the full extent of their entitlment and securuty, support staff etc .. for the four ladies at any one time including whoever is the first lady at any given point in time…Four times as much security and 20 times for his children that are entitled to it.
    Just like any other normal man he is bound to be jealous as he cannot be with all three or four at the same time. Thats enough stress in itself….His upkeep may lead to his downful becuase of his way of life and some enemies will capilise on that . Remember the Tiger in the Woods ?

  16. 18 Andrew in Australia
    February 4, 2010 at 15:03

    Yes, of course it is. Any public official, elected or appointed must be accountable for their actions for 3 reasons above all.

    1 As someone who is supposed to represent you, the electorate, and make decisions on your behalf (that is what politicians are – not untouchable Gods only serving themselves.. so take note all members) they must be held to high standard, a higher standard than others. You cannot accept a surgeon who is drunk daily or a pilot with suicidal outlooks would you?

    2 As your representative how they behave does affect their attitude and their behaviours. If you have a politician with major holdings in one industry (even if they divest) in say forestry would you not want to know their leanings especially on matters concerning the environment and saving nature? Or take a zealous Christian and their take on legislation over abortion for another. A politician can have their own belief system but they must be set aside when conducting matters of state.

    3 Ultimately you have chosen to become a public official, deal with the public, represent the public, rely on the public for your career survival, therefore you must be accountable to the public and your life must be open and transparent. Of course have a life, but if you want a life with no intrusion then by all means DO NOT seek public office at all. If we compromise on this then we the public will always be let down and corrupt officials will prosper unhindered. Public officials MUST have open lives for scrutiny – simple as that no compromises.

    I reiterate… if officials do not like this, then they should seek other occupations, accept scrutiny or ammend their ways.

  17. 19 Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    February 4, 2010 at 15:06

    ‘The daughter of a friend’ – I’d hate to be Jacob Zuma’s enemy! Now Zuma’s child is his friends grand daughter! With the last publicized issue (the lady with AIDS and the shower), that too was a friend’s daughter (if I am not mistaken). Makes you wonder what next.

    Indicentally, I wonder if FIFA’s president, Joseph Sepp Blatter, has congragulated Dad Zuma and Grand Dad Irvin Khoza (CEO of the SA World Cup). Does anybody know?

    • 20 Julie Sanders
      February 4, 2010 at 18:54

      public or private no one should be proud of having 19 kids/ what about population control people should only have one or two kids if they want more adopt! No matter what country you are in male or female!Julie portland oregon

  18. 21 T
    February 4, 2010 at 15:28

    When you are a head of state, you give up your private life. Every aspect of your life is open to public scruitney. You can complain all you want about it. You can threaten people, you can sue and more.

    But that’s the price you pay when you campaign. Zuma knows it. Obama knows it. Everyone knows it.

  19. 22 steve
    February 4, 2010 at 15:28

    For the millionth time. Politicians are by nature narcissists. This is what narcissists do. Also, politicians have power. Many women find power to be a very attractive trait, so it’s very likely that male politicians will do this… You’ve got Clinton, John Edwards, Zuma, Sanford, McGreevy, the list goes on and on, and there will be many stories like this in the future so long as we ckeep on electing narcissists into office.

    now how about we discuss something actually newsworthy? Doing a story on the exploits of a politician is like doing a story on the sun rising tomorrow. it’s just something that happens.

  20. 23 Ivan Mark Radhakrishnan
    February 4, 2010 at 15:49

    Ah yes! It is always ‘CULTURAL’……. but we still cannot live without our ‘western loves’ including western dress, western-type accommodation, western music, western entertainment, western modes of transport, western methods of communication, western food and drink!

    Abdelilah Boukili (comment above) Zuma’s ‘expertise’ makes his ‘wives’ and wenches ALL amateur in bed! He might be hopping around because no one is satisfied in the end! Ever look at it that way?

    (especially when we slip up!)’
    Ah yes, it is always ‘cultural’!

  21. 24 Linda from Italy
    February 4, 2010 at 15:55

    I am not a South African, therefore I feel I cannot pass judgement on his behaviour as head of my country. But as a woman, I am appalled by his behaviour and the way he obviously sees women as his conquests, if not property – are his wives allowed such freedom I wonder? Instead of fathering and having to support all those kids, an ego trip presumably worn as a badge of his “manhood”, maybe he could have directed those funds into supporting some kids in the poverty stricken townships who aren’t lucky enough to have a rich powerful dad. Within a certain section of his country’s culture, polygamy and numerous sexual partnerships producing untold numbers of children may well be acceptable, but like it or not he is operating on a global stage and he should think of the image he is conveying.
    This is not imposing “Western” values on anyone, just a suggestion that he should think of the ramifications this has on the respect his country can command worldwide.
    Just as I detest the shenanigans of a certain senior Italian politician because he has made Italy a laughing stock on so many occasions, I am sure a great many S. Africans are deeply embarrassed by Mr Zuma.

  22. 25 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    February 4, 2010 at 16:01

    I don’t remember seeing Obama in todays topic question.

  23. 26 gary indiana
    February 4, 2010 at 16:07

    Politicians always have a tendency toward self-serving behaviors. Competent ones can submerge these long enough to address national needs; incompetent ones display them in every aspect of their lives. It isn’t the act of unprotected sex that is of importance here; but the illustration of a tendency to act without consideration for other people, whether just one or an entire nation. Yes, the people should be concerned.

  24. 27 Gary Paudler
    February 4, 2010 at 16:14

    It’s always shocking to learn that a politician is a self-serving megalomaniac; shocking! But it’s not like he espoused pious Christian views invoking the teachings of Jesus and then went off to wreck a far-away country and kill and maim hundreds of thousands of people, now THAT would be bad leadership. Probably a crime. Perhaps worthy of a radio show.

  25. 28 Muthee Mwangi
    February 4, 2010 at 16:39

    Hi WHYSers,

    I am thinking for once the Democratic Alliance of Helen Zille is so right. Jacob Zuma should not even be president of any country in the world.

    For one, as much as polygamy WAS deeply entrenched in African culture, PROMISCUITY was never and has never been part of African culture.

    It would be a bit acceptable if Mr. Zuma had his 20 children within a polygamous marriage set-up, but with different women who are not even his wives and his friend’s daughter? No. Something is not right.

    Again, for a country that has one of the highest HIV/Aids rates in the world, the message to South Africans has never been so stark and clear: the president is not with you in the fight against the scourge.

  26. 29 Mefehnja Tatcheu
    February 4, 2010 at 16:40

    Morality doesn’t seem to be in the vocabulary of many African leaders worst of all in the South African ones precisely.
    Many African countries wanna copy alot from their SA counterparts especially interms of economy but I’ll prefer they don’t copy the latest.
    His predecessor also had a good number of allegations about having affairs with some female minister. However everybody should know that once they become a leader in any atmosphere, they become some sort of idlos for the people they rule.
    leadership is not only charisma, fighting recession, fighting crime etc etc but also reputaion. Is it too much appetite for sex or for children?
    19 is a good amount for any father and 4 wifes more than sufficient.
    President they say more money more problem but I say more woman more problem.

  27. 30 T
    February 4, 2010 at 17:01


    The only reason I mentioned Obama was to illustrate a point.

    When someone is a head of state, they cease to have a private life. IMO, it doesn’t matter what country they’re in. Every aspect of your life is going to be examined and commented on.

    Aside from that, am I saying that Zuma and Obama are exactly the same? No. I’m not. It’s just that with still-present problems of HIV/AIDS and poverty for much of the black population, I think that Zuma could set a better example for his people.

    Then again, I’m looking at it from a Western perspective.

  28. 31 Shannon in Ohio
    February 4, 2010 at 17:20

    If Zuma were a private citizen, on one level it wouldn’t really matter that he seems to have a tough time keeping his pants on, but as the president of a country ravaged by HIV and AIDS, doesn’t his promiscuousness essentially negate ABC and other public information campaigns designed to fight the behaviors that spread the disease? What message does it send to South African men about women?

    Whether it is fair or not, when any leader’s messy private life is made public it will always profoundly compromise his (or her) ability to lead. Here in the U.S. we have seen that too many times to count–in the last year alone!

  29. 32 nora
    February 4, 2010 at 17:28

    20% AIDS infection rate.

    This is properly put as a national security problem, a cultural problem, a sexual problem. Why don’t we ask South Africans to come online and use Zuma only as a springboard to promote dialog and insight into this problem. Leave Zuma and work around him on AIDS as we had to do with Reagan. Surely the women of the ANC have something to say.

  30. 33 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 4, 2010 at 17:32

    I for one am not interested in the private lives of public figures, be they Tiger Woods or President Zuma.

    However, I remember when Zuma said (during a scandal involving his sex life,)after having unprotected sex, that he’d taken a shower as a precaution against AIDS. His public position–particularly in an AIDS affected nation such as the RSA–behooves him to be at least minimally informed as to how AIDS is both spread and prevented.

    Because of his admitted ignorance on the subject of AIDS, his sex life actually has crossed over the line from private to public.

    February 4, 2010 at 18:02

    I think Zuma’s private life – or is it public/private life? Should be left alone. He is obviously a hero in South Africa based on the outcome of the last poll. It is hypocritical for South Africans now to say he is something bordering on immorality. I don’t believe them – they knew all these traits all allong during the polls. They obviously knew there will be more sexy government if they voted that way.
    As for women – well – they want to be close to power – who wouldn’t? I think people are only worried about his openness. HIV is not a South African issue alone – it’s a worldwide problem and, in that country it was worse before he came on stage.
    The opposition too should go for other points if they want to counter Zuma instead on dwelling on a game that he knows so well.

  32. 35 JanB
    February 4, 2010 at 18:10

    It is when he’s being a hypocrite, which Jacob Zuma definitely is.

  33. 36 GTR5
    February 4, 2010 at 18:26

    Yes, as head of state his life becomes public and with good reason. This clearly shows what kind of scoundrel the people have running their country. As worthless and undeserving as he is, he clearly is in the same league as a lot of other African heads of state. You want democracy, you got it!

  34. 37 Cheshire Pete
    February 4, 2010 at 18:28

    Anyone who would cheats on his wife, will cheat on anyone else without a second thought.

  35. February 4, 2010 at 18:32

    It’s his life! Let him led it the way he was raise if it fits within the countries laws and cultural norms.

    If I was South African I would be concerned about his ability to lead with so many other respoinsibilities in his life. Leading with a couple fo children in your life is one thing. Leading with 20 children needing your time also is not possible. Either the country will lose out or the children will.

    Personally, I think a person is crazy to want more than one spouse. And at times, that’s to much!

    The question should be: Should Zuma be in a padded cell? 3 of my wife would put me or him there!

  36. February 4, 2010 at 18:42

    Zuma’s sex life has been attracting attention because it has generated the question of the link between sex and politics. It’s up to the South Africans to judge their president, especially women who are fighting for equality.

    Actually in Arab culture, it was normal to have a Harem, that is a man could have up to four wives and an unlimited number of concubines whose children weren’t allowed to inherit him. In the gulf states Emirs and heads of states have more than a wife, which is seen as normal by their peoples as ordinary males are allowed to have four wives at a time. It is still shameful to have children out of wedlock.

    The difference with Zuma and Gulf state leaders is that he’s open about his sex life and the local media can talk about it while their wives are rarely ,if not never, seen in public and no one is allowed to talk about how many times they’ve got married and how many women they have divorced.

    It’s all a question of traditional culture and the degree of how far one can report about the sex life of a leader.

  37. 40 Grace Igweta
    February 4, 2010 at 19:09

    Once a leader, Zuma becomes public property.. His he able to give attention, time and love to all the children and still take care of national duties? In a night when his 7 teenage sons needs fatherly advice, will be there for them, or are they on thier own and the mother (??). Any man that goes on to have children more than he can pay attention to is both selfish and unfair to the children…. nothing private about that!!

  38. 41 John in Salem
    February 4, 2010 at 19:10

    I think the people who elected him are the only ones who can determine if he is doing to his country what he is doing to so many women.

    But you gotta wonder – how does he find the time to govern?

  39. 42 Jack
    February 4, 2010 at 19:13

    Is his life the public’s business? That would be up to the people of South Africa. Dude’s traditional culture encourages plural marriages. This might sound a bit chauvinistic, but so . . . what’s you’re point? Is it that he has too many wives or that with so many wives, he shouldn’t also have a lover?

    Are you people for real?

    He’s a politician and apparently, chicks dig him. Chicks dug Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. They also dug John Denver, the Beatles, Motley Crue, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

    Why limit the whole AIDS discussion to a guy with a few extra wives?

  40. 43 Shannon in Ohio
    February 4, 2010 at 19:17

    Are all Zulu men this irresponsible? I suspect a great number of Zulu men are horrified by Zuma’s actions.

  41. 44 AWLinNC
    February 4, 2010 at 19:20

    Zuma would be a disaster as president whether he has 2 children or 20 children. Is it only this that makes people think he is a hypocrite? Get me my machine gun…

    This entire discussion makes me feel sorry for former U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards, whose career and marriage are ruined from having a child with his (former?) lover. He should move to South Africa!!!

  42. 45 Randall
    February 4, 2010 at 19:24

    How does anyone know if they wore a condom or not? They do break you know.

  43. 46 Jane Steele
    February 4, 2010 at 19:33

    Presidents and Prime Ministers swear to uphold the laws of their countries when they are sworn-in and in general are expected to do so with moral integrity.
    Whatever happened to leading by example? I

  44. 47 steve
    February 4, 2010 at 19:35

    Well, at least Zuma’s wives aren’t dying of cancer. Our politicians apparently cheat on their dying wives, and father children with their mistresses.

  45. 48 Lucie, Prague
    February 4, 2010 at 19:35

    To me having 19 children is not a matter of his private life. It is very irresponsible to the children. Nobody is able to bring up well 19 children, technically is unable to spend enough time with them and even a career politician…He must be a man who takes part in procreating them but not that much their bringing up. I feel very sorry to his children. It makes him a very irresponsible man to me. And then when he treats his own children so irresponsibly, how he must treat citizens as a politician!!!

  46. 49 Jethron
    February 4, 2010 at 19:37

    Personally i think that once one becomes a public figure he is open to public scrutiny and as a president as Zuma is,he must be an embodiment of the country’s policy.He should lead from the front.His actions do not portray responsibility on his side and this talk about culture is merely an act of burrying his head in sand.This is the 21st century with new threats as dangerous as HIV and one cannnot afford to be as reckless as he has been all in the name of culture.

  47. 50 Malaika
    February 4, 2010 at 19:40

    As a West African woman, I’m shocked that South African women have so little pride that they’re putting up with this nonsense. He should be preparing to die and not having babies. Zuma may be able to aford 20 children, but remember that he’s doing it the PEOPLE’s money! If he is so proud of his Zulu culture he should have run for Zulu chief and not the president of a country that’s suppose to be leading Africa into the 21st Century!

  48. 51 nora
    February 4, 2010 at 19:42

    Do Zulu men with a committed polygamous lifestyle graciously look the other way so that their wives can get some sweetness on the side? If so Mata Hari can multiply into many Mata Harrys. Pillow talk in the halls of power is amusing, which is why we are talking about it, while HIV retrovirals or nutrition just isn’t sexy enough. How is S.A. coping with sex and AIDS and survival?

  49. February 4, 2010 at 19:44

    At least he is up front about his personal life. Unlike the lying, cheating pathetic politicians in the rest of the world ( mostly the US ) that get caught right before an election. And then deny it.

  50. 53 EchoRose in Florida
    February 4, 2010 at 19:47

    Polygamy was probably born a very important tradition in ancient times when mortality and birth rates were low; however, when your traditions threaten the survival of your people, one must create new tradition to honor the very birth of traditions as a valuable survival mechanism.

  51. 54 Jack
    February 4, 2010 at 19:48

    @ Steve

    I agree. He is required to provide support to his wives and children and seems to be doing just that. How is he being irresponsible?

    Is it outrageous because he has multiple wives or because he has a lover in addition to them?

    If it’s immoral, why are Hebrew Kings David and Solomon held in such high regard in Judeo-Christian culture, since both had wives and concubines?

  52. 55 Beth
    February 4, 2010 at 19:49

    I feel that many people are missing an important point that doesn’t see to be coming up in the broadcast or in the comments, and that is, do President Zuma’s actions make him a hypocrite? I do think it’s important for a population to know about their leader’s private life, but only so they can determine whether they’re being fed a bunch of bull. In other words, unless the President or his administration have been vehemently speaking out against unprotected sex, paligamy, or population control, then he has done nothing he is encouraging others not to do, and he has not gone against his word; as long as he is still able to rightly run the country.

  53. 56 Free
    February 4, 2010 at 19:50

    Is this man his wife? The callers keep referring to polygamy, yet it is not clear if this woman is his wife. If this women is not his wife, then why is he not showing an example of adultery?

  54. 57 Fridge
    February 4, 2010 at 19:51

    Whether he is a public figure or not, or legal doesn´t matter. Germany has a gay foreign minister and a gay mayor of Berlin. Who are we to say what is legal in South Africa. Besides the women who are with Zuma have a choice to be with him, or don´t they?

  55. 58 EchoRose in Florida
    February 4, 2010 at 19:52

    To the Caller Richard: The west may relay their opinion because they know that multiple partners CAN increase your risk to getting HIV/AIDS…

  56. 59 Melissa
    February 4, 2010 at 19:52

    Zuma is a horny pig with no respect for women. I think the man on the phone right now ranting about the West imposing what’s right and wrong, I think it’s universal that banging every woman with loose morals, is IMMORAL. This should be more about women’s rights! Any woman with an education doesn’t want her husband having sex and children with any and all women he possibly can.

  57. 60 EchoRose in Florida
    February 4, 2010 at 19:54

    Tradition, Tradition, TRADITION! Everyone keeps using that word without knowing what it means for human beings! Tradition is a survival mechanism…a leader must engage traditions that will PROTECT his people, not HARM them!

  58. February 4, 2010 at 19:57

    Zuma is a shame to africa.I dont believe a president should be perfect but a certain level of moral standard is required.You cant run a country well if you are always marrying,in court for sex related cases and raising new born babies.Zulu tradition is inbalanced because it gives men the chance to marry multiple women but women cant be married to multiple men.

  59. 62 Jack
    February 4, 2010 at 19:58

    Who was the fellow who said that if Zuma wanted to be Zulu, he should be the leader of a tribe? By that logic, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney should have never run for US President in 2008. The Kennedy’s shouldn’t have been so Irish. Tancredo shouldn’t have been so Italian. And Bill Richardson shouldn’t have been so Hispanic.


  60. 63 Tom D Ford
    February 4, 2010 at 19:59

    Maybe Zuma can afford to have so many children but the world sure cannot.

  61. 64 dan
    February 4, 2010 at 20:02

    The man who called complaining about the West imposing its values on Africa because Africa was where human originated illustrated the problem with Africa as a whole perfectly.
    His argument thoroughly discounted how civilization progressed and matured.
    Past African societies lived in trees, worshipped inanimate pagan idols, practiced human sacrifice, practiced slavery etc. Those practices were normal for the time but the world grew up. Did your caller mean to suggest that Africans are incapable of growing up?

  62. 65 Aaron Street
    February 4, 2010 at 20:02

    I couldn’t care less about the President’s number of wives, children, or even the issue of adultery. However, AIDS makes private behavior a public policy issue. Anyone can contract HIV (even men in their 60’s and women in their 30’s). The President has an excellent opportunity for leadership. He should explain how he and his mistress and / or wives got tested before they had unprotected sex. If he can make this claim, he can stand as an excellent example of responsible behavior. If he can not, he is absolutely the irresponsible hypocrite some are calling him — and he should run out and get tested as soon as possible

  63. 66 Amazed
    February 4, 2010 at 20:16

    Polygamy most often indicates a society where women are held chattel. They do not have the same rights and opportunities as men.

    Slavery is also traditional in cultures throughout the world. If a national leader held 3 slaves would this also be acceptablle?

  64. 67 Andy in Los Angeles
    February 4, 2010 at 20:17

    While I respect the need for public figures to have some semblance of a private life, when one takes a leadership role they cannot hide behind their position or their culture when their personal behavior is distasteful to some of those that they lead. As an American I feel it is not my place to judge the South African President and I support those South Africans who feel that they need to call their leader to account as well as those who would wish to defend him. I can say from my experience here, our culture is always changing and has always been diverse – as is and has South Africa’s. We should all be careful to simplify Zulu culture as South African culture or even African culture. At the same time we should, as human beings, have the right to call into question those cultural practices that subjugate other human beings to a lower class or state (such as the treatment of women), or perpetuate dangerous behavior (such as sexual promiscuity without the use of a condom in a nation with some of the highest HIV infection rates in the world).

    There was a time in my country when it was culturally acceptable to own slaves. Obviously that is not acceptable now – why? because it was wrong. If Zulu culture finds President Zuma’s behavior acceptable, then Zulu culture will have to deal with the consequences if it truly is not. Unfortunutely the South African president represents all South Africans, not just Zulus, and therefore if his behavior has offended many in South Africa, then South Africans, not just Zulus, should have the chance to call him out and have a conversation about what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior for leaders, regardless of one’s ancestral culture. For the mark of a true leader is one who can rise above tribalism to provide leadership to any and all who call a nation home; and that includes not just ethnicities, but all identities, be they gender, religious or sexual orientation. And the mark of a true free society is one in which this process of questioning one’s leader can occur peacefully. God knows that there are many places on this Earth where such conversations could not even take place. I appplaud South Africa for the example it is setting to the rest of the world in how a decent society debates social mores and cultuiral leadership requirements.

  65. February 4, 2010 at 20:30

    Can someone please remind South African government that polygamy is not just a Zulu tradition, it is in all culture. The fact that something is available does not make it right for us to consume. If you over eat your food, you’ll be sick. There is something they call control. Can Jacob Zuma do that?

  66. 69 Idris Dangalan
    February 4, 2010 at 21:15

    Zuma has 19+ children or had matured sex with whoever to me it is a problem because all above mentioned event is part of Zuma’s custom and tradition.

  67. February 4, 2010 at 23:46

    Jacob Zuma as President of SA is after all a public figure … as such the public is interested in what he does..Having so many numbers of wives and children is an enormous financial burden on his limited salary, and is capable of luring him (as well as any other public official) in his shoes) into corrupt practices and (or) diversion of state funds .. since his monthly entitlements may prove insufficient for his family ‘s need..

  68. 71 Craig
    February 5, 2010 at 01:35

    This is the guy who says a shower after sex prevents aids? I would say that means his judgement is subject even if his potency is not.

  69. February 5, 2010 at 07:50

    As Marx had famously said women are nothing but part of a man’s private property in a class society. So no wonder whether you are a President of a country or a beggar there you behave the same way with the womanfolk! And you can invoke your tradition, your God and what not to justify your nasty behaviour!
    In India too you have got Chief Ministers, Governors and god men who play with the lives of the hapless women ! Almost all the
    religions and all the political organizations, baring of course the Communists, sanction the practice of polygamy and amoral sex exploits on the part of men while denying the same ‘ privilege’ to women!
    A. V.samikkannu, pappireddippatti, tamilnadu, india

  70. February 5, 2010 at 10:57

    who expects zuma to remember everything by himself?he is the one who will be reminded that even the right ways need a change too.

    TV(tambua village/jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  71. February 5, 2010 at 11:31

    we at most times think we are right..yet it could be hypocrisy for those negatively condemning zuma and even zuma himself..we need reminder to see the right truth.


  72. February 5, 2010 at 12:06

    African Leader like Zuma must remmeber, when you take public office, you sworn in with name, who the same God says must not have more than one wife.
    shame on you god will punish you forever

    Southern Sudan Juba

  73. 76 John Otu
    February 5, 2010 at 18:19

    Just as much as Nigerians do not know the health status of their president, so does it seem wrong for Zuma’s private life to be made public. Africa continue to get worse with there two examples as a continent where majority of its citizens suffer from a self-inflicted blindness.

  74. 77 James Ian
    February 6, 2010 at 08:39

    What person needs more then two or three kids! What a reckless selfish dip-wad! Wrap it buddy, the world is over populated, especially your part of the world!

  75. 78 kangeagus
    February 6, 2010 at 11:29

    am not a souyh african thus will not know about the zulu culture,but for sure it does not promote promisqiuty,it is too mean for a president to be having children outside marriage when he is married to three wives,a country like south africa,much respected in africa for it advance stage of democracy.i suppose he should resign,for he has disgrace his people,they can not be ruled by a he-goat,let .him also go the hiv test

  76. 79 Thembi
    February 6, 2010 at 21:39

    jacob zuma is an individual and so are his wife and family just like hillary clinton bill clinton are individuals their actions are’nt seen to be acceptable in american culture so zuma’s actions it should’nt be seen as being the norm in south africa or in zulu culture because it is’nt zuma is the only black polygamist that i know and his behavior is shocking to us as well. i dont know why black people have to grouped whenever an unfortunate incident takes place.

  77. 80 Daniel in South Africa
    February 7, 2010 at 09:30

    As South African citizen, I found it very sad to see our beloved country falling apart under the ANC ruling party. Since Mr Nelson Mandela left the political scene, almost all acceptable standards simply disappeared completely. Jacob Zuma is a hero amoungst the uneducated masses in South Africa, but an embarassment to many local citizens who have high moral standards. He would never got elected as President of any civilised country, across the world.

    February 7, 2010 at 14:15

    So, if one of his wives did the same, would that be ok by him? I think not!

  79. 82 Terry in UK
    February 7, 2010 at 23:24

    Quite apart from the dubious morality of his actions, it is a disgrace that Jacob Zuma apparently has 19 children! The planet is already grossly overpopulated and the appallingly high population growth in Africa and other developing regions is clearly unsustainable and a recipe for economic and environmental disaster. President Zuma should set a good example for his people and restrict himself to one wife and two or three children.

  80. 83 osuagwu
    February 8, 2010 at 11:42

    The life of a public officer cannot remain private. Everything a person holding an a top post such as presidency does revibrates and shakes affects events nationwide and even worldwide. Any very High office holder clashing with the press has a skeleton in the cupboard . if you do not want public scrutny keep off public/ high posts !

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