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LISTEN UP! Statement by South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on the recent media blitz about his 20th child

Filed under : Africa, Politics

Regarding the birth of his 20th child with Sonono Khoza, comes this, from South Africa’s First Citizen, JZ….

L to R, Thobeka Mabhija, Nompumelelo Ntuli, President Zuma & Sizakele MaKhumalo

South Africa’s (first) First Lady, MaKhumalo (President Jacob Zuma’s first wife)

“I have noted recent media reports about aspects of my personal life.

I would request that the dignity and privacy of the affected individuals in this matter be respected.

I have noted too that these reports have been the subject of much discussion in the public arena by various organisations and people from all walks of life.

I have therefore decided, after some careful deliberation, to make public comment on a matter that is otherwise intensely personal. I had been out of the country when this matter arose.

I confirm that I have a relationship and a baby with Ms Sonono Khoza. I said during World Aids Day that we must all take personal responsibility for our actions. I have done so. I have done the necessary cultural imperatives in a situation of this nature, for example the formal acknowledgement of paternity and responsibility, including the payment of inhlawulo to the family. The matter is now between the two of us, and culturally, between the Zuma and Khoza families.

It is unfortunate that the individuals concerned have been unfairly subjected to harsh media exposure merely because of the position that I occupy. Our Constitution and our laws require us to protect children from harmful public exposure. The Constitution states that it is inappropriate to place at risk, the child’s well-being, physical or mental health, spiritual, moral or social development.

Both the Child Care Act and the new Children’s Act also provides for the protection of children from exploitation. The naming of the child’s parents has essentially exposed her to the public, which has serious implications in the long-term for her, and amounts to the exploitation referred to in the Act, because the media is making money out of the matter.

The media is also in essence questioning the right of the child to exist and fundamentally, her right to life. It is unfortunate that the matter has been handled in this way. I sincerely hope that the media will protect the rights of children.

Much has been made of the government’s policy on HIV and AIDS and this relationship. It is mischievous to argue that I have changed or undermined government’s stance on the HIV and AIDS campaign. I will not compromise on the campaign. Rather we will intensify our efforts to promote prevention, treatment, research and the fight against the stigma, attached to the epidemic. We will also continue with our campaign to ensure that every South African knows their HIV status, and that all those who need it have access to appropriate treatment.

We respect and uphold the freedom of the media. It is one of the freedoms we fought for, and which we will always defend. However, the President of the Republic, the mother and the baby are also entitled to the rights afforded to all South Africans in the Constitution. These rights cannot be waived just because of a position one occupies.”


So….in your opinion, is President Jacob Zuma’s sex life a private matter? Tell us what do you think! Please leave your comments below.

Gracias, dankie, tatenda, siyabonga…thanks!

Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu, The Star

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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  • Ngo

    It is the duty of any person, including a citizen, to respect the personal life of every other person, including a leader.

    However every leader knows that this duty is often ignored, and for that reason a good leader should take every action with the prior acceptance that the action will be publicly scrutinized.

    Zuma is correct that he has a right to privacy, but he is silly to believe that he will actually have it. I have a right to not have my things stolen, but I do not leave my things with a theif. Likewise, Zuma should not have exposed himself to extra scrutiny by fathering a child outside of marriage. Along with the media, he is equally responsible for “endangering” the life of his child who is now in the media spotlight.

    His response was also totally inappropriate. Clearly his action frustrates the AIDs compaign because it is assumed that he is having unprotected sex with multiple partners of unknown status. At the very least it would behoove him to clarify that he knew his own status and the status of the woman before having unprotected sex (if he did, which I doubt). Nonetheless, even checking your sexual partner does little good if your partner also has multiple partners, because her status could change at any time. THAT is why successful containment of the AIDs epidemic requires sexual monogamy.

    Every leader is a role model by default and his actions have certainly sent a mixed message, detracting from the AIDs compaign. If he were a man of any integrity he would admit this fact, issue an apology, and revise his behavior.

    This is just my health perspective–dont even get me started on the ethical shortcoming of cheating on a wife while in the public eye.


  • RandomnOne

    Zuma is just a gift that keeps on giving and I knew he would not disappoint! The eyes of the world are waiting and watching and he is giving them enough fodder. I dont know…I think its all fine and dandy to say sengihlawulile life goes on but as a leader I think that he should now curb his ‘enthusiasm’. A lot of men look up him and he is just sending the wrong msg IMO. On that note I am off to iNkadla to see what is in their water…yo!

  • farai


    Bingo! He should know better! He is conveniently applying that law/right unto himself when he should have taken all of that into consideration when he engaged in “unprotected” sex with Sonono. He is missing the point…the public/media is not altogether concerned about the child & mother – we respect their privacy. It is HIS actions that the public/media are concerned about and THAT is what he should be addressing!

    I was disappointed to read his statement – no sign of remorse or taking personality responsibility….as a leader of a nation (50 million or so people) that enjoys the highest visibility out of all the African countries – to much is given much is required.

    African leaders have this uncanny belief that “do as I say and not as I do”. I know I am generalizing here but don’t even get me started on this topic. Against all hope & challenges of life in Africa, Africans look to their leaders for inspiration but sadly…

    President Zuma’s statement is an #Epic Fail in damage control!


  • farai


    The alternative is to make a joke out of this & find humor in it…this situation is that sad!

    I am looking forward to a time when our leaders will inspire in us greatness, courage & all those things that make one “a great African”…one day soon!

    Gracias senorita!

  • RandomnOne

    Believe me underneath all this I am seething. If all else fails I use snark. South Africa is the region’s beacon of hope AT THE MOMENT but I do not know how long this will keep up. Right now he is playing into the hands of ‘investors’ and trust me they are not resting on their laurels. They are watching and they will be making a case against him real soon, i.e. moving their money in droves. They just need to find a place with the right climate. Angola is on the come up. He should ask the Chinese.

    As for his random promiscuity…sigh…where do I even begin. I mean during his trial it was made pretty clear by the lady who is now in exile (I forget her name), that he raped her all the time knowing that she was HIV positive. Now are we going to pretend that he just magically escaped the wrath of HIV? I think not. Yes he can afford to keep on churning babies because thanks to science, that is now very possible. That also means he doesnt get to die or be sickly. I do not know who he thinks he is kidding with that whole gold nugget of a PR debacle but he sure aint fooling me. I really do feel sorry for the people who work for these men. Come to think of it, it’s not even African leaders alone. I was watching The View today (yes I am crazy) and just smh at John Edwards’ aide – the lies he had to tell, the sheer disregard for truth or even the office you are running for….I mean its just insane….but I digress.

    I do not know whether to think its a big ole ego, a lack of education or the need to conquer, at play. I really dont know. All I know is that its sad, irresponsible and dangerous. He is no longer proving his manhood (coz I assume that is what he was/is aiming for…non?)…… Uyisfebe nje. Sorry Farai *slinks out*

    PS Do not even get me started on his wives and concubines…..

    Have women lost their damn minds? I am being judgmental aren’t I? I will stop.

  • Gugu

    wow dude.. are you serious?