Jacob Zuma Biography

Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is a politician from South Africa. He was born on April 12, 1942, and served as the country’s fourth president from 2009 to 2018. He is also known by his initials, JZ, and by the name of his clan, Msholozi. [1] [2] [3] He fought against apartheid and was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe. From 2007 to 2017, he was president of the African National Congress (ANC).

Zuma was born in the rural area of Nkandla, which is now part of the KwaZulu-Natal province and where most of his supporters live. He joined the ANC when he was 17 and was a political prisoner for ten years at Robben Island Prison. He left South Africa in 1975 and ended up running the ANC’s intelligence department. After the ANC was no longer illegal in 1990, he quickly moved up in the party’s national leadership, becoming deputy secretary general in 1991, national chairperson in 1994, and vice president in 1997. From 1999 to 2005, he was the vice president of South Africa under President Thabo Mbeki, who took over for Nelson Mandela. Mbeki fired Zuma on June 14, 2005, after Schabir Shaik, Zuma’s financial adviser, was found guilty of giving Zuma bribes in connection with the Arms Deal. Zuma was charged with corruption and cleared of rape charges in a 2006 trial that got a lot of attention. He was able to keep the support of a left-wing coalition within the ANC, which gave him the power to get rid of Mbeki as ANC president at the ANC’s Polokwane elective conference in December 2007.

He became president of South Africa on May 9, 2009, after being elected in the general election of 2009. In the same week, the charges against him were officially dropped. Zuma signed a controversial nuclear power deal with the Russian government and started the R4-trillion National Infrastructure Plan while he was president. The Western Cape High Court stopped the deal in 2017. He used more and more left-wing populist rhetoric and, in his 2017 State of the Nation address, he announced a new policy of “radical economic transformation.” He used to be a member of the South African Communist Party. Few of the related policy changes were made before the end of his presidency, but they included taking land without paying for it, giving higher education for free, and trying to make structural changes in key areas, such as putting limits on foreign ownership and making black economic empowerment requirements stricter. Zuma stressed South-South solidarity and economic diplomacy on the international stage. South Africa joining the BRICS group has been called a major victory for Zuma, and his policy on HIV/AIDS has also been praised.

But his time in office was full of problems, especially during his second term. In 2014, the Public Protector found that Zuma had gotten state money to improve his Nkandla homestead without following the rules. In 2016, the Constitutional Court said that Zuma had broken the law by doing this, which led to calls for him to resign and a failed attempt to impeach him in the National Assembly. By the beginning of 2016, there were also many allegations that the Zondo Commission looked into between 2018 and 2021. The accusations said that the Gupta family had a lot of corrupt power over Zuma’s government, which was called “state capture.” In December 2017, ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was chosen to take over from Zuma as ANC president. A few weeks later, the ANC National Executive Committee called Zuma to come back to the country. When he got his fifth vote of no confidence in Parliament, he quit on February 14, 2018, and Ramaphosa took his place the next day.

On March 16, 2018, not long after Zuma resigned, the National Prosecuting Authority said that he would be tried again on corruption charges related to the 1999 Arms Deal. He said he was innocent on May 26, 2021, but the trial wasn’t going to start until early 2023. In July 2021, Zuma was sent to jail in Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal, for disobeying a court order in a different case. After testifying at the Zondo Commission for less than three days about allegations of state capture, he refused to come back. He did this in spite of summonses and an order from the Constitutional Court that he testify. The Constitutional Court gave him a 15-month prison sentence on June 29, 2021. He was taken into custody on July 7 and given medical parole on September 5. On December 15, the high court took away his parole, but he was allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Zuma as president

Zuma follows many traditional Zulu practices, such as having more than one wife. Some people like him more because of this, but others don’t like him as much because some of his traditions don’t fit with what they think are the norms of modern society. Other parts of his personal life were also criticized. In early February 2010, it was said that Zuma had a child outside of marriage, which is frowned upon in traditional Zulu culture. Zuma admitted that this was true. As the controversy over this event grew, critics said, among other things, that his actions showed he had no regard for the country’s HIV/AIDS policies. He apologized for the trouble he had caused for his family, the ANC, and the people of South Africa.



The former president was born in NKandla, KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa, on April 12, 1942. In 2022, he will be 78 years old.



Geinamazwi Zuma and Nobhekisisa Bessie gave birth to him. His father was a police officer who died in World War II when he was only 5 years old. After the death of his father, he moved to Maphumulo with his mother. His mother had to work as a housekeeper to help support them.



Zuma did not have any formal schooling. He engaged in all sorts of jobs as a child to help his family making it impossible for him to go to school.

He taught himself how to read and write. Jacob Zuma learnt Zulu, French, Xhosa, Portuguese, Swahili, Russian and speaks them fluently. He also has Soviet Union training.


Jacob Zuma is a  proud Zulu polygamist who has been married 7 times. He married his first wife Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo (MaKhumalo) in 1973, they have no children.

He went on to marry Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma but they divorced in June 1998. His third wife, Kate Mantsho was from Mozambique. She committed suicide on 8 December 2000 and is buried in Heroes’ Acre at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg. Zuma had five children with her.

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In January 2008 he married Nompumelelo Ntuli (MaNtuli). Two later later, he married Thobeka Stacie Madiba. On the 20th April 2014, he married Gloria Bongekile Ngema. He got married to his seventh wife Nonkanyiso Conco on October 2021


Zuma has a total of 23 children with his six wives. Some of the of them are;

  • Mziwoxolo Edward Zuma
  • Mxolisi (Saady) Zuma
  • Msholozi Zuma
  • Duduzane Zuma
  • Duduzile Zuma
  • Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube
  • Nokuthula Nomaqhawe Zuma
  • Thuthukile (Thuthu) Xolile Nomonde Zuma
  • Phumzile Zuma
  • Nhlakanipho Vusi Zuma


Zuma has a total net worth of $20 million dollars. He was one of the highest paid presidents in Africa with an annual salary of $27000. Zuma is also known to have investments in different economic sectors.

This includes property holdings, a chain of restaurants named Fat Zuma Burger, a football team called Nkandlas Angels, a vodka brand, a top-perfume brand and a fashion line. All these ventures contribute significantly towards his wealth and net worth.


1959: His political career began at 17 years old when he joined the African National Congress.

1962: He joined the Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC.

1963: Zuma joined the South African Communist party, giving him the opportunity to acquire Soviet training. He was arrested together with 45 other ANC recruits and imprisoned for 10 years at Robben Island. He was convicted of conspiring to overthrow the Apartheid government.

1977: He became a member of the ANC National Executive Committee and also served as Deputy Chief Representative of the ANC in Mozambique.

1984: Jacob Zuma was appointed Chief Representative of the ANC after the Mozambican and South African governments signed the Nkomati Accord

1987: He relocated to Lusaka Zambia, where the ANC headquarters was later moved to and Zuma was appointed as Head of Underground Structures and shortly thereafter Chief of the Intelligence Department.

1990: After the ban on the ANC was uplifted he went back to South Africa and was elected Chairperson of the ANC for the Southern Natal region.

1991: He was elected the Deputy Secretary-General of the ANC.

1994: He was nominated as the ANC candidate for the Premiership of KwaZulu Natal. Zuma became the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Economic Affairs and Tourism in his home Province of KwaZulu-Natal when Nelson Mandela was elected President.

He was elected National Chairperson of the ANC and chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal in December.

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1997: He was elected Deputy President of the ANC.

1999: He was appointed executive Deputy President of South Africa.

2005: President Thabo Mbeki removed Zuma from his post as Deputy President due to allegations of corruption and fraud related to the $5-billion weapons acquisition deal by the South African government in 1999.

2007: Zuma was elected President of the ANC with 2,329 votes, beating Mbeki’s 1,505 votes.

2009: Zuma was sworn in as President of South Africa on 9 May 2009.

2017: Cyril Ramaphosa was elected to succeed Zuma as President of the ANC at the ANC conference at Nasrec, Johannesburg.

2021: Zuma announced his resignation on 14 February 2021 and was succeeded by Ramaphosa the next day.



  • Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership from the Medical University of South Africa, awarded in Washington, D.C. (1998)
  • During a visit to the United Kingdom in 2010, Jacob Zuma was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.
  • Imo Merit Award, the highest award in the Imo State of Nigeria conferred on those who have made a difference in the development of their communities. (15 October 2017)

Honorary degrees

  • University of Zululand (2001), Honorary Doctor of Administration.
  • University of Fort Hare (2001), Honorary Doctor of Literature/Letters
  • Medical University of Southern Africa (2001), Honorary Doctor of Philosophy
  • University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Campus (2009), Honorary Doctor of Law
  • Peking University (2014), Honorary Professor of International Relations