South African President, Jacob Zuma has lashed out at British tabloid newspapers for derogatory comments about him and his personal life. The Daily Mail Newspaper published a scathing report about the visiting South African president, describing him as a “sex-obsessed bigot” and “vile buffoon”.
Zuma wasted no time to hit back at ‘arrogant British attitudes’. He said: “When the British came to our country, they said everything we are doing was barbaric, was wrong, inferior in whatever way.
“Bear in mind that I’m a freedom fighter and I fought to free myself, also for my culture to be respected. And I don’t know why they are continuing thinking that their culture is more superior than others, those who might have said so.”
Zuma continued: “I am very clear on these issues, I’ve not looked down upon any culture of anyone, and no one has been given an authority to judge others. The British have done that before, as they colonised us, and they continue to do this, and it’s an unfortunate thing. If people want an engagement, I’m sure we will engage on that issue.”
But South Africa opposition party, The Democratic Alliance was not impressed with Zuma’s defence and said he should have concentrated on the business of his state visit and not allowing himself dragged down the level of the tabloids.
“The treatment of President Jacob Zuma at the hands of a certain portion of the British press – most notably the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror – does not excuse his quite extraordinary attack on Britain and the British people. Instead of rising above predictable criticism from a particular quarter of the British press, he has allowed himself to be dragged down to the level of the tabloids,” said Kenneth Mubu, of the Democratic Alliance.
But the president was quickly defended by the ANC youth wing. Floyd Shivambu, head of the ANC Youth League branded the British “racists who continue to live in a dreamland and sadly believe that Africans are still their colonial subjects, with no values and principles. They believe that the only acceptable values and principles in the world are British values of whiteness and subjugation of Africans.”
Zuma who met the Queen, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is expected to discuss bi-lateral relationships, Zimbabwe and the SA 2010 World Cup. And the opposition party believes Zuma now need to concentrate and forget about the tabloids.
“The President must rise to the occasion for the sake of all South Africans. This is a real test of his abilities as a statesman. We cannot afford for him to fail it. He needed to promote South Africa as a tourist destination for the Fifa World Cup and beyond.
“He needed to strengthen trade links between the two countries, and to desist from defending Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and other human rights abusers on the continent,” said Kenneth Mubu of the Democratic Alliance.