Generation In Crisis
PEOPLE & CULTURE
comrade president: the man from nkandla
Born into poverty in apartheid South Africa, Jacob Zuma defies his destiny, by making the difficult journey to the highest office of his newly liberated country.
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Episode InformationBorn into poverty in apartheid South Africa, Jacob Zuma defies his destiny, by making the difficult journey to the highest office of his newly liberated country. Zuma is a young Zulu herdboy, with no formal education, who is stirred into a political awakening by stories of local rebellions and socialist revolutions in distant corners of the world. His involvement in the 1950’s Defiance Campaign leads to a life as a revolutionary, with over a decade incarcerated on the notorious prison island, Robben Island, where he learns to read and write. He is in the prime of his life in exile, often personally in danger, building the military and intelligence forces of the armed wing of the African National Congress, an organization fighting for one man, one vote in apartheid South Africa. The ANC’s return to South Africa to sue for freedom brings him home, as a veteran party leader. But it is here, after the liberation movement ends its war, that his real troubles start. His accession to power is fraught with controversy and scandal. He falls out with at least two of his closest comrades, he is tainted by corruption, he is fired, and his polygamy and infidelities outrage the conservative centre. But his canny survival skills, his sophisticated legal team, and long-standing connections with intelligence networks, help him survive as President, leader of the majority party, still in 2014 holding the levers of power.