I just watched a show that MTV base (Africa) did where Sizwe, our VJ there, sat down with President Zuma to have a one on one with him but also ask questions posed by young people across Africa. They did challenge him with their questions, i.e. isn’t polygamy sexist and chauvinist, with people using tradition to justify it, did he really say that taking a shower could cure HIV/AIDS etc, but the thing that interested me was despite all that, they still thought that he was a cool dude they’d invite to a party! Now this show was done before the whole issue of him fathering his 21st child with one of his friend’s daughter’s came to light, but still…

I get in contrast to Thabo Mbeki who was more English school dignified, that the party type, dancing Zuma might appear cool, but what kind of message are we sending when we say it’s ok that a man who has such blatant disrespect for women is elected president of one of Africa’s prominent country? It all leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

But I do like the fact that he did that interview and did it honestly, without getting all hostile like other African leaders might have. I do wish Sizwe had asked him harder hitting questions, but hey, it’s a 30minute show, how much can you get done right?

It is about time we put our African leaders in the hot spot though, hold them accountable. If we’re electing them, we should be challenging them, especially on issues that are important. Zuma said that he wasn’t worried that the media mis-represented what he said about talking the shower (it was taken out of context allegedly), but what about all the people who now truly believe that you can take a shower to reduce your risk of infection? He is a powerful man, doesn’t he realise people will believe what he says? I wish I was in the room then to ask him that…

We really need a shift in politics in Africa, need to get our act together. I do think that these opportunities to engage with our leaders is the step in the right direction. Young people need to realise that they too have the power, but they’ve got to get involved – you can’t complain, if you don’t show up right?

Just saying…

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