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Vol 50 No 21

Published 23rd October 2009

South Africa

Zuma's faith

After the African National Congress leadership in the Western Cape was suspended because of the governing party's poor showing there in this year's elections, President Jacob Zuma set up a task team. Headed by Minister of Labour Membathisi Mdladlana, its task is to run the ANC in the province and rebuild its popular support. Mdladlana's first step was to call provincial religious leaders to meet and 'interact' with Zuma. The gathering was held on 17 October in the tranquil setting of a marquee in the gardens of the Georgian residence of the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba. Assembled with him were bishops, apostles, imams, Quakers, Hindus and Bahais, all curious to hear what Zuma had to say. The President describes himself as a devout Christian and some of his followers have compared his travails to those of Jesus Christ. At the same time, he is proudly polygamist, with a weakness for young female friends of the family wearing kangas.

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