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Why South Africans Booed Their President at Mandela’s Memorial

December 10, 2013

by Oke Efagene
South African President, Jacob Zuma faced a major public humiliation earlier today, during the memorial service of the late anti-apartheid legend, Nelson Mandela, as the crowd booed and jeered at him.

The embarrassing outburst comes barely 6 months before the next national elections, and in the presence of leaders and VIP guests from around the world, as the crowd blatantly expressed their displeasure in him and his administration.

His African National Congress (ANC) government has been facing violent labour unrest and protests over persisting poverty, crime and unemployment. The ANC is however, still expected to comfortably win the elections to be held in April or May.

Zuma, who has ruled Africa’s biggest economy since 2009, had been hoping to get a boost from the wave of national emotion triggered by Mandela’s death on Thursday, aged 95.

According to reports:

Zuma was booed when he first entered the crowded stadium, and again when he prepared to speak. In contrast, U.S. President Barack Obama received a roaring ovation, and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as well as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon were also cheered.

Some in the crowd accompanied the boos for Zuma with thumbs-down gestures and rotating hand movements, the sign for a substitution in a soccer match.

“Mandela had a vision, Mandela lived that vision. But what Zuma speaks, he doesn’t live,” said Funeka Gingcara-Sithole, 31, reflecting the mood of the Zuma critics in the stadium.

“He should do the honourable thing and resign,” she said.

The hostile reaction from the thousands-strong unruly crowd erupted as Zuma prepared to address the high-profile ceremony in Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium bringing together leaders from around 90 countries.

Zuma and senior ANC officials remained stony faced during the booing and organisers at one point used a choir to try to drown out the hostile reaction.

The mourning for Mandela has distracted attention from corruption scandals affecting Zuma and his administration.

But memories of the former president’s five-year tenure up to 1999 have reminded many just how distant Zuma’s South Africa still is from the “Rainbow Nation” ideal of shared prosperity and social peace that Mandela proclaimed after his 1994 election.
Ynaija.com

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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