Thursday, December 20, 2007

Will Zuma be the new South African President?

This morning Dave and I discussed South African politics in the light of the recent election of Jacob Zuma to the African National Congress (ANC) Presidency. The ANC has won every election since the end of apartheid, so he is very likely to be South Africa's next president.

The Australian published a profile about Mr Zuma, noting that he happily admits to being a polygamist. He is also an alleged rapist and has been confronted with charges of corruption.

In "Profile: Zuma charms wives and nation", The Australian notes that Mr Zuma has four official wives and several girlfriends.

He is undoubtedly a master politician, one of the few who can combine township militancy and traditional African values - one day punching the air at an ANC rally, the next dancing in a leopard-skin loincloth at a Zulu village ceremony.

To say the least, my husband is concerned about this situation in South Africa. This morning in our conversations we were reminded that we need to avoid worrying about tomorrow. Concerns about changes that will lead South Africa toward dictatorship may well be unfounded.

Michael Spicer, of Business Leadership in Africa, said: “It is more a question of style than substance. Zuma cannot possibly deliver all he has promised but he represents a desire for change. I don't think economic policy or government would in fact change very much.”

Whether or not Zuma will change the South African political landscape dramatically, one thing is certain. He is not a godly leader. Will you join with us in praying for godly government in South Africa?


  1. Hi Sherrin

    I appreciate that what you post on your blog are your own views and that you are free to censor comments on your entries. I live in South Africa, but my comment is not intended to enter into a political debate about Zuma with you. I understand that your comment about his polygamy is based on your faith, but I hope that your faith allows you to be tolerant of other cultures and beliefs even if they do not necessarily align with yours. Polygamy is common in African cultures, so I would simply ask that when you comment on similar issues in future, you consider the wider context as well, even though it may not be a Christian context I do believe Christianity encourages tolerance.
    Despite everything, we remain Proudly South African.

    Keep well,
    (Cape Town, South Africa)

  2. Dear B.E.E.

    You may be aware that my husband is also South African, and loves his country. I loved it as well when I visited in January.

    You may be right that I should have explored the cultural context. However, I think that most of my readers would be aware that polygamy exists among a number of cultures in Africa. My husband and I have had many conversations about it and its effects on society. While in South Africa I met more than one Zulu man who was polygamous.

    It is important to note that the cultural presence a certain practice is not a measure of its acceptability, even speaking in purely secular terms. Many cultures have accepted practices such as child abuse, mistreating women, or treachery. It is worthwhile to understand that these practices can be culturally entrenched in various places and people groups, but this is not to deem them suitable qualities for a leader of a country.

    As Christians we can live at peace with people who are polygamous, and we are called to love them, but we are not called to pretend that what they are doing is OK. We are called to be advocates for godly government and right penalties for sins such as corruption and rape.

    It is great to hear from another South African.

    May God bless you,