Original Research

Songs about Zuma: revelations of divisions after democracy

M. Groenewald
Literator | Vol 31, No 1 | a40 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v31i1.40 | © 2010 M. Groenewald | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 July 2010 | Published: 13 July 2010

About the author(s)

M. Groenewald, Department of African Languages, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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In February 2006, when he was Deputy President of the country, Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma appeared in the Supreme Court in Johannesburg to defend himself against charges of rape. The charge of rape by a woman known only as Khwezi against a powerful politician, popular with many trade unions and many ordinary folk, not only gave rise to one of the major media events in that year in South Africa, but also revealed divisions in society and in politics. While Zuma supporters sang in his defence and to his praise, activists against women abuse criticised Zuma. On the one hand, the supporters of Zuma defended him with reference to his moral integrity; they also stated that he was the popular choice for future president, while they ridiculed the futile actions of his enemies. On the other hand, the activists against women abuse attempted to highlight Zuma’s behaviour as immoral and urged women to speak out against abuse. This opposition revealed new divisions in society at large, as will be shown in the analysis of the songs.


Divisions; Morality; Political Songs; Jacob Zuma


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