On Friday, surrounded by supporters after his court appearance on corruption charges in Durban, Zuma broke into song and led the crowd in a rendition of Sengimanxebanxeba (I am full of wounds), a famous Zulu song which the City Press has described as being associated with regiments and which talks of betrayal by one’s own comrades.

Zuma told the adoring crowd that he would defend himself. “He said several times, to loud cheers, that it was a pity that beating up people was no longer allowed otherwise he would have resorted to that,” said the City Press.

These are the words of the former president of the Republic of South Africa. What do they mean? Of course we will be told that this is a figure of speech, that he didn’t imply any violence. But Zuma knows that those are potent words in KZN, a place where political killings are back with a vengeance.

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