Often when one is asked to name the most important or powerful gods in Africa, names such as Ogun, Ikenga, Adroa, Mbaba Mwana Waresa, Guruhi, Mukuru, Anansi, Nyame, Age, Katonda, Ngai, Kwoth, Jengu, Rugaba readily come to mind. Hardly would one mention the powerful god called Zuma. Ever heard of this controversial and indeed interesting god?
Interesting? Yes! Controversial? Definitely in every sense. Interestingly, while most African gods invoke fear and respect, Zuma, though powerful, is often treated with disrespect. Unlike the undemocratic African gods, which could punish or strike opponents quickly with impunity without seeking approvals from anyone or fearing for the repercussion of their actions, Zuma god, on the other hand, can be restrained and analytical before taking any action. So in the African god`s kingdom, one could describe Zuma god as democratic. Democratic? Yes, in the African god nomenclature sense. But that is not all. Zuma god is the god of luck. Well, luck, not really that the worshipers of Zuma god are often mesmerized with luck. No. Zuma god itself is a lucky god. You still ask why Zuma god is unique, interesting or controversial?
In the African god’s kingdom, where respect, discipline and hierarchy are often sine qua non for peaceful coexistence, one often wonders how the controversial Zuma god has managed to climb to the hierarchical apex. But as an ex spy wizard within the kingdom, Zuma, has managed to flirt with the risk ““ and opportunity alike. It is only by taking a risk that one can succeed ““ or fail, the controversial Zuma believes. The question is, how many gods or individuals have challenged any of the fearful African gods and got away with it? Definitely not many. Why? Because there is a belief in Africa that when a child raises the father up, the child`s face is covered by the loincloth of his father. That proverb seems not to apply to Zuma god, which clearly is different amongst other gods. As an apprentice god, Zuma, although not a fan or student of Cambridge or Oxford universities, has managed to challenge and dethrone its master god called Mbeki god ““ something unthinkable in the African god`s kingdom or mythology, where the gods have ever powerful tentacles to subdue opponents like ambitious Zuma.
So when the controversial $5bn ( £3.4bn) arms deal becomes a kingdom discourse, Mbeki god and other demi-gods find in the controversy, the easiest tool to hammer the apprentice Zuma “servant“ to its senses and send it to an irreversible oblivion. But the lucky Zuma god, exonerated by the court, comes out free. Its lieutenant and confidant Schabir Shaik is nailed, instead. For those who are used to the nature of the African god`s kingdom, where total zombie – like obedience is a norm, the court exoneration of Zuma is not the end of its nemesis. Zuma, the god ““ apprentice is sacked by Mbeki master god. Worse still, Zuma has been charged itself.
Ironically, the nipping of Zuma god`s wings would rather invigorate and resurrect the ambitious god politically. Now it wants to overthrow and dethrone its master Mbeki. That would amount to trying the impossible in Africa. Overthrowing the incumbent god? But Zuma, the apprentice is rather fighting a survival battle, instead of simply satisfying its ambition. Taking over the power from Mbeki god is tantamount to Zuma`s survival. Interestingly, Zuma has the political structure ““ and charisma – on the ground, which its godfather lacks. A combination of luck, political skill and grassroots structure catapults Zuma to the highest hierarchy. Zuma has debunked the African proverb, which says that when a child raises the father up, his face is covered by the loincloth of his father. Zuma has raised the father up, but made sure that the loincloth of the father would not cover its face. While Zuma is busy manhandling the father, there is a small apprentice god called Malema, which claims to be Zuma`s “illegitimate offspring,“ watching with keen interest. Malema has loved the “father“ so much that it has never hidden its desire to die for the “father.“ Wish my son would do same for me!! Regardless, Malema apprentice is following the political skill of the “father,“ Zuma admirably.
Now Zuma has ascended to the god -throne, it probably thinks like an Nza bird which wants to challenge its god after a heavy meal. Before you know it, Zuma is standing trial for rape. Rape? What a rape kingdom is that! As the kingdom`s head of the National AIDS Council, Zuma has admitted to having unprotected sexual encounter with its accuser, which happens to be the female offspring of its deceased friend. However, Zuma proudly tries to convince the court that it has taken a shower after the sexual encounter, to avoid the risk of contacting any deadly virus such as Aids. It’s sexual jamboree coupled with the “shower confession,“ ends up causing a big division amongst the kingdom’s youth wing, which supports Zuma fully and other gods of the kingdom which are uncomfortable supporting a god, which they believe, lacks the moral principles to lead them. Is this the annihilation of Zuma god? But remember that Zuma god is the god of luck. Luckly, the judge has dismissed the charges, on the ground that the sexual act in question has been consensual. The thunderous warrior song: ” Awulethu Mshini Wami“ (Bring my machine gun) follows. The victorious god, Zuma is celebrating with its subjects.
While the celebration goes on, a respected former Constitutional Court judge god, called Zak Jacoob has questioned the rape verdict and insisted that it would have found Zuma god guilty if it had presided over the case. Another case of Zuma as an epitome of luck? Or is Zuma god a silent operator working behind the scene? If you consider the verdict a sheer luck, what of the doubting Thomases, most of them from the Western kingdom which have vowed that the world Cup football tournament held in Zuma`s kingdom would be a catastrophe? The Zuma`s kingdom is castigated as a risk paradise, deadly and murder headquarter of the world. Zuma, the die-hard god has proved all wrong and organized one of the most successful soccer events in the history. Is the success as a result of meticulous work or luck? Perhaps, as a result of one or a combination of both factors. Others think Zuma is the master of autocracy. To be fair, even though the god could have some autocratic tendencies, the kingdom where it operates is governed by the principle of accountability, hence Zuma god seems not to have the necessary ammunitions to destroy its opponents ““ at least openly or deadly- without being held accountable for the action. If you are in doubts, ask the cartoonist – god Zapiro how many times it has turned Zuma god`s personal anatomy into a public cartoon caricature. You can even ask Zuma itself how many times it has begged the court to appeal to its subjects to remove its privacy from their daily discourse. Quite “un-African“ you would say for an African god, wouldn`t you?
Not everyone agrees that Zuma god operates within the democratic principles. A business juggernaut Kenny Kunene from Zuma`s kingdom has written an open letter to Zuma god, labelling the god, amongst others, a monster and tyrant which will not rest until perceived enemies are dealt with ruthlessly. Kunene claims further in the letter, that many members of Zuma`s kingdom are “terrified“ to say their opinion against Zuma because they fear the god might reprimand them. While some consider Kunene`s remarks constructive, others brand the accusation an outright “abuse of the constitutionally enshrined right to freedom of expression“ in the kingdom which if left to continue, might lead to a bad precedent. Yet another group labels Kunene, a flamboyant shrewd fastidious god and an opportunist which had benefitted immensely business – wise from the kingdom, only to go back and bite the finger that fed it. But with Zuma`s “˜illegitimate` son Malema, joining the ranks of those gods which accuse Zuma god of autocratic tendencies, it becomes difficult to know where to draw the line between “constructive criticisms“ and outright opportunism.
Like “father,“ like “son,“ Malema, which has been following its “father“ Zuma to the village meeting all these years, has learnt from the “father“ the act of manipulation, maneuver and survival. Recently, with full of self confidence, the young god wants to challenge its “father“; probably out of power greediness or the contention that the god-father is not living up to its promises. Either way, for Malema to become its own god, it must take a stand ““ perhaps a controversial stand, for that matter. It is time to practice all it has learnt all these years on the “˜father.“ Malema suddenly decides to be a prodigal son; it regrets supporting the “father.“ In the twinkling of an eye, Malema wants to engage its once beloved “father,“ Zuma god in a wrestling contest. The villagers gather at the Kingdom square waiting to witness this eventful day. Would Zuma god close its eyes and allow this to happen? Trust the “father“ god. It demolishes its “son“ and banishes it into an exile.
While the ovation has yet to die down, Zuma god gambles again with another scandal ““ this time over its residential building, which some believe, is built out of the kingdom`s finance. Even though Zuma is not known to be a friend to the “gold-plated bishop,” Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany, Zuma`s wife-arsenal may have contributed to the size of the new residential building, which many consider abnormally large.
Call it whatever you like – a rascal, risk taker, calculator, manipulator, mentor, consensus builder or pugnacious god ““ one thing is clear: Zuma the god is a survivor. Whether it survives out of sheer luck or personal integrity, the coming years will tell – when another god heads the kingdom.
The above story is a parody. It is entirely fictitious; therefore none of the characters mentioned in the story are real.