Jacob Zuma is not going anywhere. I was reminded of this reality as I read Eddie S Glaude Jr’s The New York Times best-seller Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lesson for Today. He writes about Donald Trump:
“We make him wholly bad in order to protect our innocence. He is made to bear the burdens of all our sins, when he is in fact a clear reflection of who we actually are … panic ensues when crises reveal the truth, because we are snatched from our fantasies and forced to confront who we really are. Trump is us, or better, Trump is you.”
So is Zuma. Zuma is us. He didn’t defy the courts on his own. We allowed him to. We made excuses for him. Zuma didn’t build the Nkandla firepool by himself. We built it for him. We defended his excesses. Zuma didn’t open the Estcourt prison gates. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his cabinet did.
Zuma is not the monster we tried hard to portray him as. He is us. We are him. To cure ourselves of the Zuma syndrome, first we must confront the lies we tell ourselves. We cannot build a future on a foundation of lies, the same lies Zuma supporters keep repeating.
The lies about the July riots. The lies about Zuma’s incarceration. The lies about lies. The vicious cycle never ends. Stop the lies, and face the ugly truth about us as South Africans. Our problems are self-created.
Dr Lucas Ntyintyane
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