Mail and Guardian

Birthday cheers and jeers for Zuma in show of a divided nation

(Delwyn Verasamy)
(Delwyn Verasamy)

The cracks in the tripartite alliance have been further laid bare by leaders from the ANC, South African Communist Party (SACP) and union federation Cosatu being largely absent from President Jacob Zuma’s birthday celebrations.

The president’s landmark 75th birthday was celebrated in distinctly different ways in Kliptown and Pretoria, with some wishing him good health and others vehemently calling for the end of his presidency.

At Kliptown’s Walter Sisulu Square, the site where the Freedom Charter was proclaimed, nearly 10 000 people came from as far as Mpumalanga to show their support for uBaba, whom many lauded for furthering their prosperity.

Mpho Mamabolo (63), from Mabopane township on Tshwane’s outskirts, woke up at the crack of dawn to await a bus, organised by the local ANC Women’s League branch, to Johannesburg. Mamabolo has been a member of the women’s league for more than two decades and said her love for Zuma has not waned in recent years.

“We want to say we love him, happy birthday Baba, may God bless him to be healthy and remain strong because he is a strong man,” Mamabolo said.

Eighty kilometres away at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, parts of a 35 000-strong largely Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) crowd sang “Happy birthday Zuma” as they crowded around a burning coffin with “Zuma” written on it.

“He must just resign.