Thursday, September 11, 2008

Zuma - why should white people like him?

So Nhlanhla Zuma posted a comment on the Witness website in response to an article and comments by a number of people: "[Jacob Zuma] is not going anywhere, JZ is here to stay, whether you like it or not he is going to be the next president of SA. If you do not like him, well pack your bags and catch the next available flight to the UK!"

Ok, there are a couple of things going on here. Firstly, the whole issue of the white man fleeing SA because of the blacks. Secondly, the issue of Zuma as the hope of the nation's majority (black people).

So I'm a white guy, and I like it here. I like the people in South Africa. Most of them anyway. I'm not about to leave because everyone else is leaving. They're leaving because Zuma is going to send this country into die tronks like Zimbabwe. I don't see any evidence of that. All I see is a man with charges against him.

To be honest, I'm not sure whether I like or dislike old Jacob.

I like his demeanour. I like his charm, the way he seems to understand "the people"... as in the real people - the people who put in the elbow grease to make this country work - the workers, the labourers. He chats to them, and they like him for that. Whenever I have heard him speak, he's conducted himself with calmness and generally, a sensible head. Like "we must respect our justice system". That's a good statement.

However, 224 bus loads of people and a bunch of MEC henchmen who rant and rave about Zuma being innocent to the masses doesn't exactly inspire hope in me that Zuma is being heard by the guys that matter - the MECs, ministers and other decision makers.

I'm not sure I like Zuma's silence on certain issues... like Bombshell/Blockbuster Malema. That oke is as thick as two planks. (Why do all the boneheads have big mouths???) Zuma should take him by the scruff and khuluma to that kid about the implications of not thinking beyond the ANCYL. But Zuma hasn't, or at least, it doesn't look like he has.

Beyond the government, I wonder whether Zuma's charisma will extend to the poor. The people who most want him free of court charges and elected as president are those who want houses, more grants, more money... a better life. Will Zuma actually make that happen?

I wonder whether Zuma's influence will extend to change the mindsets of young black men who commit horrible crimes daily. Maybe a black Zulu leader who stands up and says "Don't commit these crimes - there's a better life for you, and this is how you can get it..." will stop some black teenager from swiping a car radio, or killing for a car, or raping someone... maybe if Zuma talks directly to them, it'll make all the difference.

If I were Zuma, that's exactly what I would do. Lead the young black guys. Lead the white guys, like me. Give us hope, give us direction. Speak with authority on the bigger issues and demonstrate that you understand what needs to be done to attain greater freedom and peace in this rainbow nation. And then, by God, DO IT!

The people in this country are desparate for a leader they can trust, a leader who's pioneering, a leader who cares about every race group in South Africa. They want a leader who understands economics and has the moral compass to safely and transparently take the country forward. They want a leader who acts swiftly to attend to difference samong leaders, who strives for unity and who hears the concerns and opinions of all people in the country. They want a leader who inspires hope for everyone in the country.

If Zuma can demonstrate that, he's got my buy-in.

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