Katheryn Gandhi

Written by Katheryn Gandhi

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Cnn.com

When it comes to larger-than-life celebrities, Jacob Zuma is a name that immediately comes to mind. The former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, has captivated the world with his controversial political career and turbulent personal life. During his time in office, he made headlines for both his charismatic leadership style and numerous scandals that rocked the nation.

But there’s more to Jacob Zuma than just the headlines. In this article, we delve deep into the extraordinary life of Jacob Zuma and uncover some fascinating facts that you may not be aware of. From his humble beginnings to his rise to power and eventual downfall, these thirteen facts will shed light on the man behind the political persona. So, sit back, relax, and prepare to be amazed by the extraordinary life of Jacob Zuma!

Key Takeaways:

  • Jacob Zuma, the former President of South Africa, faced corruption charges, led the fight against HIV/AIDS, and was ousted by his own party, leaving a controversial legacy in South African history.
  • Known for his singing, unique fashion sense, and polygamous lifestyle, Jacob Zuma’s presidency was marked by political challenges, legal battles, and public scrutiny, shaping South African history.
Table of Contents

Jacob Zuma served as the President of South Africa.

One of the most significant facts about Jacob Zuma is that he served as the President of South Africa from 2009 to With his charismatic personality and political prowess, Zuma played a vital role in shaping the country’s political landscape during his tenure.

He faced multiple corruption charges.

Jacob Zuma’s political career was marred by various corruption allegations. From the infamous arms deal scandal to charges of money laundering and racketeering, Zuma faced extensive legal battles throughout his time in office.

Zuma was criticized for his controversial leadership style.

Known for his unconventional leadership approach, Jacob Zuma often faced criticism for his controversial decisions and policies. His tenure as President was marked by political unrest, economic challenges, and allegations of nepotism.

He was involved in the struggle against apartheid.

Before becoming President, Jacob Zuma played a crucial role in the anti-apartheid movement. He was an active member of the African National Congress (ANC) and even spent ten years in prison on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela.

Zuma was known for his singing and dancing skills.

Aside from his political career, Jacob Zuma gained popularity for his musical talents. He was fond of singing and dancing, often showcasing his skills during public appearances and political rallies.

He has faced numerous political controversies.

Jacob Zuma’s time in office was not without its fair share of controversies. From the Nkandla scandal involving the misappropriation of public funds to accusations of state capture, Zuma’s political career was riddled with ongoing debates and legal challenges.

Zuma has multiple wives.

A well-known fact about Jacob Zuma is his polygamous lifestyle. He has been married six times and has a total of 22 children. Zuma’s personal life often made headlines and sparked public interest.

He was once a popular cattle herder.

Before his political career took off, Jacob Zuma worked as a cattle herder in his early years. This humble background and connection to rural life resonated with many South Africans.

Zuma faced a vote of no confidence.

During his presidency, Jacob Zuma faced multiple votes of no confidence from both the public and his own political party. These votes indicated a lack of confidence in his leadership and further strained his political position.

He was known for his unique fashion sense.

Jacob Zuma’s fashion choices often caught the attention of media outlets worldwide. Whether it was his colorful traditional attire or striking headwear, Zuma made a statement with his distinctive personal style.

Zuma was involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

As President, Jacob Zuma made significant efforts in the battle against HIV/AIDS. He launched the ambitious “Zuma 90-90-90” strategy, aiming to have 90% of South Africans tested for HIV, 90% of those diagnosed on treatment, and 90% with suppressed viral loads.

He was ousted from the presidency by his own party.

In 2018, Jacob Zuma was forced to resign as President after facing immense pressure from his own political party, the ANC. This marked a significant turning point in South African politics and marked the end of Zuma’s controversial presidency.

Zuma is a controversial figure in South African history.

Jacob Zuma’s legacy is a subject of ongoing debate and controversy. While some credit him for his contributions to the anti-apartheid movement, others criticize his governance and alleged involvement in corruption. His tenure as President has left a lasting impact on the country.

These are just a few of the extraordinary facts about Jacob Zuma, a prominent figure in South African politics. From his presidency to his personal life, Zuma’s story is filled with highs and lows, making him a subject of fascination and debate.

As we delve into the 13 extraordinary facts about Jacob Zuma, we gain insights into the complexities of his political career, controversies, personal life, and the lasting impact he had on South Africa. Through his presidency, Zuma experienced significant political challenges, legal battles, and public scrutiny.

However, it is important to acknowledge his role in the anti-apartheid movement and his efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS, which brought important issues to the forefront of national and international discussions. Nevertheless, his legacy remains a subject of controversy and ongoing debate.

From facing corruption charges to being ousted from office by his own political party, Jacob Zuma’s journey is filled with extraordinary events that have shaped South African history. His unique fashion sense, musical talents, and polygamous lifestyle have also garnered attention and added to his public persona.

The 13 extraordinary facts about Jacob Zuma showcase the complexities and contradictions that surrounded his life and presidency. Love him or hate him, Zuma’s impact cannot be denied, and his name remains etched in the annals of South African history.


In conclusion, Jacob Zuma is a highly controversial figure. From his humble beginnings in a small rural village to becoming the President of South Africa, his journey is certainly extraordinary. However, it is impossible to separate his accomplishments from the numerous allegations of corruption and scandals that have plagued his career.Despite the controversies surrounding him, Zuma remains a prominent figure in South African politics. His charisma and ability to connect with people have allowed him to maintain a strong support base. Whether he is seen as a hero or a villain, there is no denying that Jacob Zuma has left an indelible mark on the political landscape of South Africa.As the nation moves forward, it is crucial to reflect on both the positive and negative aspects of Zuma’s legacy. Only by understanding the full picture can we hope to shape a brighter future for South Africa.


1. What were Jacob Zuma’s major achievements as President?

During his presidency, Zuma implemented various social welfare programs, such as the expansion of access to healthcare and education. He also prioritized infrastructure development and initiated large-scale projects, such as the construction of new highways and power plants.

2. What were some of the key corruption allegations against Jacob Zuma?

Zuma was faced with numerous corruption allegations throughout his career. The most significant was the Arms Deal scandal, where he was accused of receiving bribes in exchange for facilitating a multi-billion-dollar arms procurement deal. He also faced allegations of using state funds for personal gain and involvement in illicit financial activities.

3. How did Jacob Zuma’s presidency impact South Africa’s economy?

The economy during Zuma’s presidency faced significant challenges, with slow growth and rising unemployment rates. There were concerns about mismanagement of state-owned enterprises and corruption affecting investor confidence. These factors contributed to economic uncertainty and posed obstacles to long-term development.

4. What is Jacob Zuma’s current status?

Zuma faced multiple legal battles and corruption charges during and after his presidency. As of now, he has been found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to prison. However, his case is still ongoing, and his political and legal future remains uncertain.

5. How did Jacob Zuma connect with his supporters?

Zuma had a unique ability to connect with people on a personal level. He was known for his charismatic personality, singing and dancing at political rallies, and using his Zulu heritage to relate to his predominantly rural support base. This connection helped him maintain a loyal following throughout his political career.

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