Zuma is a hit in souvenir trade

Vendors of Jacob Zuma paraphernalia follow the African National Congress (ANC) president with the same dogged determination as the National Prosecuting Authority, and day two of his appearance in the Pietermaritzburg High Court was no different.

Between the pie and meat vendors and a lone cobbler stitching torn shoes, several people were flogging everything from Zuma key rings and ANC buttons to Che Guevara caps and old editions of the African Communist magazine on the dusty Market Square, opposite the court.

Standing under a small tree, Nathi Kubheka had spread out several A4-size laminated photographs of a smiling Zuma and other ANC leaders, which his uncle had snapped at the party’s national conference in Polokwane in December last year.

The framed ones cost R100, the unframed ones R40 and the small ones, of which Kubheka had a stack in his hand, R10 each. He said he had sold four of the large ones already on Tuesday morning.

“I’ve had a slow morning, but I’m hoping it will pick up later as more people come later in the day, before they go back home. I can’t complain,” he said.

Nearby another young man was selling ANC apparel. The “100% Zuma” T-shirts, with the man’s image emblazoned on the front, going for R50 each, was the biggest-selling item.

Red South African Communist Party polo shirts cost R100 while large shirts bearing pictures of a smiling Nelson Mandela—and which can also be transformed into a wrap to be tied over the shoulder—were going for R40 a piece.

One passer-by looked at these and said to the salesman: “I respect him [Mandela] but I don’t want to wear anything associated with him.” She added: “I can’t get it, but maybe for R30.”

To this, the seller replied laughing: “Maybe if you go to the Indians you can get it for R30.”

Another hawker was selling CDs of Jacob Zuma songs performed by the “Tsunami Band”, which had been pumped out over the sound system set up on the square. These cost R50 each and the seller said he had sold 50 of them on Monday.

Zuma caps at R50 each and shirts were also popular items.

“We’re supporting Jacob Zuma. We like Jacob Zuma,” he said.

Supporters of the ANC president were slow to arrive at court on Tuesday morning. Shortly after 9am a group of about 15 ANC members wearing yellow T-shirts marched up and down a street next to the square. One of them held a plastic cooldrink bottle aloft containing a murky brown liquid from which a rag protruded and which he claimed was a petrol bomb.

“We’re ready to fight for our rights and die,” he said.

Shortly before lunch, several hundred people had gathered in front of the stage from which Zuma had spoken on Monday, in anticipation of his address to them later on Tuesday.—Sapa



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