/ 29 September 2022

Khaya Koko: JZ in da house for his last dance

Safrica Politics Zuma African National Congress
A comeback: Former president Jacob Zuma has announced he is available to stand as ANC chair should his fans demand it. Photo: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP

“When I come back like Jordan, wearin’ the 4-5, it ain’t to play games with you.” Jacob “Jay Zee” Zuma; 26 September 2022. 

Okay, not really. 

The above lyrics are actually taken from the iconic hip-hop track, Encore, released in 2003 by the United States rapper Shawn Carter – who is the slightly more famous Jay-Z (pronounced Jay Zee). 

But the lyrics could well have been written by our very own Zuma – who is himself an accomplished lyricist and vocalist – as South Africa and the ANC’s former president drafted a ditty on Monday to announce his (possible) return to active party politics. 

In case you missed it – to borrow from social media parlance – Zuma released a four-track (or -page) album saying that, after being approached by his fanbase within ANC, he would contest the position of national chairperson should he be nominated at the party’s elective conference in December. 

“I have indicated that I will be guided by the branches of the ANC and that I will not refuse such a call should they deem it necessary for me to serve the organisation again at that level or any other,” Zuma wrote. 

The “4-5” in the song Encore refers to the number 45 basketball legend Michael Jordan wore for the US-based Chicago Bulls when he came out of retirement in March 1995 following a two-year hiatus from the game. 

Jordan, who had won three National Basketball Association championships with the Bulls before his 1993 retirement, returned to lead the Chicago team to three consecutive titles in what has been immortalised as The Last Dance

As I lay all crusty-eyed in bed on Monday morning, reading my colleague Lizeka Tandwa’s report about Zuma’s possible last dance, I pictured the former president listening to Encore in the background when he wrote his return announcement; clad in his favourite South African Communist Party T-shirt (to match the Chicago Bulls’ red colours), with number 45 on his back. 

And why wouldn’t he? This is, of course, Zuma’s encore in trying to lead “our people” to a National Democratic Society – the charterist version of a socialist nirvana – after allegedly wasting nine years during his first shot at the revolution. 

Like a sports legend who has retired but is not satisfied with how the remaining players are performing, or maybe just missing the action on the pitch, Zuma once gave hints of a possible return to politics, declaring: “If you guys need a substitute, I am, indeed, available.” 

The revolutionary former president was probably using a football metaphor there, and it would be prudent to stick to the theme by giving him the number 45 jersey that was made famous by the Italian footballer of Ghanaian descent, Mario Balotelli

After all, both Balotelli and Zuma have been much maligned by the counter-revolutionary and propagandist media cabal – in my best Mzwanele Manyi tone and voice – when all the pair wanted to do was showcase their talents. 

For Balotelli, who was playing for English team Manchester City at the time, things came to a head in an October 2011 match against his side’s bitter rivals, Manchester United, following a string of what-we-will-call-fake-news stories about Super Mario’s non-existent indiscretions. 

During the October 2011 game, Balotelli, after scoring a goal and as part of his celebrations, pulled his jersey over his head to reveal a shirt with the printed words: “Why always me?”

Yes, you guessed correctly what comes next because the parallels are just striking: Wenzeni uZuma? What has Zuma done? 

It is a question that has morphed into a beautiful chorus that will surely be sung from the bleachers, as Zuma’s supporters strive to engineer a bigger comeback than a Beijing or Shanghai boy growing up to avenge the death of his father. 

Conditions are ripe for Msholozi to return and vanquish his nouveau nemesis and the Cupcake-in-Chief, Cyril Ramaphosa, who narrowly defeated Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Zuma’s preferred candidate, at the ANC’s last elective conference in 2017. 

Fast forward five years, Zuma and Dlamini-Zuma – like Triple H and Shawn Michaels rekindling their D-Generation X wrestling partnership in the WWE – have tag teamed again in an attempt at finally laying the raw smackdown on the (alleged) white monopoly capital/Stellenbosch-mafia stooge Ramaphosa. 

But the Ankole and buffalo-tough Ramaphosa is going to take some beating in December as KwaZulu-Natal is the only ANC province that has publicly stated its disinterest at giving the Fellow South African a second five-year party presidential term. 
But I’m not going to write Nxamalala off just yet. It is, of course, not over until Zuma’s fat belly sings Encore, and paves the way to his last dance.