Jacob Zuma's Vibrant Rally Ignites Soweto Ahead of South Africa's General Election"

Former South African President Jacob Zuma made a resounding statement as he rallied support in Soweto ahead of the upcoming general election on May 29th. The atmosphere was electric, with Zulu warriors parading around Orlando Stadium, evoking a sense of tradition and strength. Amidst the fervent atmosphere, men in camouflage sang revolutionary songs, while renowned South African artists, including rapper Big Zulu, added to the spectacle, captivating the near-capacity crowd.

The presence of Papa Penny, a disco king and influential figure from the Tsonga community, underscored the diversity of support for Zuma’s new party, uMkhonto weSizwe, translating to “Spear of the Nation”. Papa Penny’s endorsement challenged perceptions that Zuma’s backing was solely rooted in the Zulu ethnic group, marking a significant moment for his supporters.

However, the undeniable star of the event was the 82-year-old former president himself. As chants of “Zuma, Zuma” filled the stadium upon his arrival, the scene was a testament to his enduring influence. Accompanied by his daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, who holds a prominent role in the party’s leadership, Zuma’s presence resonated deeply with his supporters.


Choosing Soweto as the venue for his largest campaign rally carried symbolic weight, as it represents a bastion of support for the African National Congress (ANC) and holds historical significance in the fight against apartheid. Yet, as the ANC faces challenges to its dominance, notably from Zuma’s breakaway party and other opposition groups, the stakes are high in this election.

Meanwhile, current ANC leader President Cyril Ramaphosa has been actively campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal, Zuma’s home province, emphasizing job creation and cautioning against underestimating the ANC’s strength.

Zuma dancing. File Picture

The legal battle surrounding Zuma’s eligibility to serve as a lawmaker looms large, with South Africa’s highest court yet to rule on the matter. Despite legal hurdles, Zuma remains undeterred in his quest for power, with his party, MK, aiming for a two-thirds majority in the election.

However, signs of dissent within Zuma’s own rally, with a portion of the crowd leaving before his speech concluded, hint at challenges ahead. While recent polls suggest a resurgence in ANC support, the outcome of this election remains uncertain, with only time revealing its impact on South Africa’s post-apartheid trajectory.

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Piers Potter


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