Former president Jacob Zuma has been dogged by accusations of criminal activity throughout his time as president of South Africa. Now that his presidency is over, he is appearing in court to face 16 charges, which relate to 783 counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.

South Africans are hopeful that Zuma will finally have to answer for all the money he allegedly stole during, and before, his presidency – and that it will bring some kind of closure for the anger and frustration many felt with his leadership.

We decided to take a look back at some moments of his presidency that made us half laugh, half cry – all cringe.

Magical showers

When the country was in the grips of an HIV/Aids crisis, Zuma claimed during his 2006 rape trial that he had taken a shower after sex to prevent himself from contracting HIV. Zuma later defended the comment, saying it was just one of the measures he had taken to clean himself after sex and he never intended it to mean that a shower can prevent HIV infection. He nevertheless earned himself the fixture of a showerhead in eyes of cartoonist Zapiro – which has endured to this day.


Zuma mercilessly mocked opposition members for their pronunciation of Nkandla, and their persistence in questioning him about it in Parliament. Note the eye roll for dramatic effect. Towards the end of this video, Zuma drops another of his famous exclamations: “Thixo wase George Goch!” Translated, that means God of George Goch (a ZCC church).

The weekend special switcheroo

The midnight cabinet reshuffle that gave Nhlanhla Nene the boot and instated Des van Rooyen as Finance Minister. The rand tanked over the next few days, until Zuma changed his mind, and made Pravin Gordhan the Finance Minister instead. This switcheroo earned Van Rooyen the nickname “Weekend Special”.

Geography class 101

Zuma inexplicably told folks at a business event in 2015 that firstly, Africa is the biggest continent on earth (it’s not – Africa is second in size to Asia). Secondly, that all other continents put together could fit into Africa (hint: they can’t). And lastly, that no river divides the continent (not sure what he was getting at with this one).

One, two, skip a few

In his closing speech at an ANC party conference in 2015, Zuma struggled to pronounce a large number written on his speech paper (the number of ANC party members).

He handled the fumble with humour, but it made him the butt of many jokes throughout the country.

Pictures: Facebook and Twitter

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