Friday, February 12, 2010

Zuma's African PR Problem

A cartoonist for Uganda's The New Vision newspaper summed it up: a woman in a miniskirt leans into President Jacob Zuma's bedroom, where he is in bed with his three wives.

"Sweetie, I've come to pick up money for baby's Pampers," she says, while in the background a politician speaks to a crowd demanding they "stop having multiple sex partners and unprotected sex".

As news of the president's love child went viral, the continent talked back. It wasn't all bad news, though. Zuma found some pockets of love from Africa.

In Kenya's Daily Nation, one reader wrote in to say the media must "kindly back off and leave JZee alone".

"It's in the interest of the Zulu culture to have as many children as possible," the reader noted. "What you guys are doing is like telling the Maasai to stop herding cattle …"

But another hit right back: "I am not sure what African custom/tradition some of you are purporting to defend. In my African customs you and Zuma would be rolled down the hill in a bee-hive."

Prince Prah, a columnist on a Ghanaian news website, Ghana Web, wrote a stinging piece entitled "South Africa's Sex-President".

"It is sad that at the World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland, the [most] exciting contribution from South Africa had nothing to do with economy and development but President Zuma's statements about his polygamy, his promiscuity and Zulu culture," he wrote.

He warned that, in the eyes of ordinary Africans, South Africa appears to be going the same way as the rest of the continent.

"In a country where women's rights used to be taken seriously, his treatment of women as sex objects puts all South African women to ridicule. Polygamy may be accepted among his Zulu stock, but his fathering of a love child raises grave moral questions."

Well-known Zimbabwean journalist Basildon Peta wrote that a scandal of this magnitude in a Western democracy would have seen a leader like Zuma tossed out of power.

"Mr Zuma is unlikely to leave office despite the mounting pressure on him," Peta lamented on "His largely illiterate supporters, his main power base in rural areas, will keep him in office."

But the SMS of the day on The Namibian scolded those who dared to challenge Zuma's freedom to breed, channelling ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema.

"It is disappointing to see and hear people talking left and right about the now famous African child, but nobody is reminding them about the respect that they have to maintain towards all the elders," the paper's website noted. "We are living in fear, African children please behave."

Source: Additional reporting by Tarryn Harbour, Lisa Steyn and Vuvu Vena- South Africa’s Mail &Guardian of 12-18 February, page 4


Anonymous said...

You plagiarized someone else's article, blamed it on third parties, yet you are posting an article that erroneously attributed the plagiarized wrok to you.

DOnt you have shame?

Anonymous said...

Complaint by Dr Abati
Mr. Prince Prah,
My attention has been drawn to a story titled "Zuma's African PR problem" in The Mail and Guardian, 12 -18 February at p. 4, in which the newspaper attributed the writing of a comment to you as the author.
The comment was taken from a post by you – Prince Prah – titled "South Africa's Sex-President" published on Ghana Web as an opinion written by you on Wednesday, February 10, 2010.
I aver that the material - minus a few phrases which you added to it in the opening line, was published in a Nigerian newspaper, The Guardian on Sunday, February 7 2010 at page 66, and also on the newspaper's website (see and on the internet ( It is authored by me, this writer, Reuben Abati, in a weekly column titled Crossroads.
Intellectual theft is criminal, dishonest and absolutely indefensible. No responsible publication or writer should be associated with it.
I am outraged that you will brazenly steal my thoughts and words verbatim and put your name to them. If you liked the piece so much, the least you could have done should have been to acknowledge the author and attribute the material appropriately. I will appreciate your setting the records straight by correcting the error that your inappropriate use of my material has created. What you have done is wrong.
Reuben Abati, Ph.D

Anonymous said...

Response from Prince Prah
“Intellectual theft is criminal, dishonest and absolutely indefensible. No responsible publication or writer should be associated with it”, this I agree.
I have been a regular contributor to feature articles on Ghanaweb; however, someone hypocritically cloned my email and sent an article purported to have come from me.
This is not the first time though because a lot of features and stories have been attributed to me when am not the author, those I write are sometimes not sourced to me whilst other websites do.
I was informed on Friday by a friend through a mail that a South African newspaper has attributed comments to me which I found very strange and asked for a copy to be mailed to me.
It is unfortunate I took the mention in that piece but it hurts when you write and somebody feeds on it without giving you credit.
I wish to sincerely apologize for any inconveniences the mischief maker might have caused.
Prince Prah

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Prah,
Thanks for your letter which clears up this issue for all the people who have brought this to our attention; I assume you will be in touch with the web editor of the Ghanaweb site to have them correct this attribution and take down this piece which appears in your name.
We will run a matter of fact about this in Friday's paper, regarding the attribution, and will remove the reference in our story online.
Thanks, Tanya Tanya Pampalone | Associate Editor Mail & Guardian

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