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Clever Blacks, Jesus and Nkandla


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Clever Blacks, Jesus and Nkandla
Gareth van Onselen

ISBN 9781868426188

Jacob Zuma is a man who walks in two worlds. As president of South Africa, he is tasked with upholding the principles that define the Constitution and embodying the values they are designed to engender. But, as an individual, a set of private impulses – ranging from his religious beliefs, to his traditional African cultural convictions, to a populist and patriarchal attitude to power – defines his world view; and many of these impulses run counter to the Bill of Rights. The result is an often-violent clash between his formal duties and more informal demagogic instincts. South Africa’s public debate is where that conflict plays itself out.

Gareth van Onselen has put together a comprehensive collection of Zuma’s most controversial – and often contradictory – public statements. With some 350 quotes collected along ten themes that define Zuma’s personal beliefs, Clever Blacks, Jesus and Nkandla documents some of Zuma’s most notorious moments. It aims to serve as both an easy guide to Zuma’s personal philosophy and a reference point for some of the debates that have defined his political career. The quotes represent one of the fundamental fault lines that run through South African discourse today – a society trapped between its Third World realities and its much-vaunted First World ambitions. In many ways, Zuma is the epicentre around which the subsequent debate has unfolded.

Gareth van Onselen

Gareth van Onselen obtained a Masters degree in sociology at Wits University before moving to Cape Town in 2001. He currently writes a daily column for the Business Day and works as a Senior Reporter for the Sunday Times.


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