Jacob Zuma Biography

Jacob Zuma, the former President of South Africa, is a controversial figure who served in office from 2009 to 2018. Despite facing accusations of rape and corruption, Zuma was acquitted of all charges. Growing up without formal schooling, he worked as a child to support his family. Joining the African National Congress party in his teenage years, he was imprisoned for conspiring against the apartheid government. After his release, Zuma continued to work for the ANC from neighboring countries. Upon the lifting of the government’s ban on the ANC, he returned to South Africa and was elected deputy president. However, his tenure was marred by corruption scandals and rape allegations. Nevertheless, Zuma remained popular within the ANC and eventually became the country’s fourth President. After nearly nine years in office, he resigned following a no confidence motion. Zuma’s personal life, including his polygamy and having 20 children, has faced global criticism and scrutiny.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma
  • Age: 81 Years, 81 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Gertrude Sizakele Khumalo, Gloria Bongekile Ngema, Kate Mantsho, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Nompumelelo Ntuli, Thobeka Stacy Mabhijafather: Geinamazwi Zuma
    • Mother: Nobhekisisa Bessie
    • Siblings: Joseph Zuma, Michael Zuma
    • Children: Duduzani Zuma, Gugulethu Zuma, Manqoba Kholwani Zuma, Nhlakanipho Vusi Zuma, Nokuthula Nomaqhawe Zuma, Phumzile Zuma, Sinqobile Zuma, Thandekile Matina Zuma, Thandisiwe Zuma, Thuthukile Xolile Nomonde Zuma
  • Quotes By Jacob Zuma
  • Presidents
  • Height: 5’6″ (168 cm), 5’6″ Males

Childhood & Early Life

Jacob Zuma was born on April 12, 1942, in Nkandla, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. His parents were Geinamazwi Zuma, a policeman, and Nobhekisisa Bessie. He grew up with two brothers, Michael and Joseph. When his father died during World War II, Jacob and his mother moved to Maphumulo. From a young age, he supported his family by shepherding cattle and did not receive any formal schooling. However, he taught himself to read and write.


In 1958, Jacob Zuma joined the African National Congress (ANC) and the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). The following year, he also joined the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). In 1962, he became a member of a political study group in Cato Manor and was recruited into MK, the armed wing of the ANC. He also joined the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1963. However, in June 1963, he was arrested along with a group of recruits and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on Robben Island for conspiring to overthrow the government.

After his release in December 1973, Jacob Zuma played a crucial role in mobilizing internal resistance and re-establishing ANC underground structures in Natal. He also worked with Harry Gwala to send young people out of the country for military training. In 1975, he left the country and operated from Southern Africa, supporting ANC structures inside South Africa. He secretly entered the country in 1976 to re-establish contact with activists in the Durban area.

In 1977, Jacob Zuma began working for the SACP and completed a leadership and military training course in the Soviet Union. By the late 1980s, he became the head of the ANC Intelligence Department. He was elected chairperson of the ANC’s southern Natal region in 1990 and became the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC party in 1991. He was involved in negotiations between the ANC and the Inkhata Freedom Party (IFP) in 1993 during a period of violence in Natal.

In 1994, Jacob Zuma was elected National Chairperson of the ANC and later became the Chairperson of the ANC. He served as the ANC’s Deputy President from 1999 to 2005 and was appointed the Deputy President of South Africa in 1999. However, he faced controversy in 2002 when he was implicated in a major corruption scandal. In 2005, he was accused of rape, which led to a highly publicized trial. He was acquitted in 2006 and reinstated as ANC’s Deputy President. In 2007, he was elected as the President of the ANC.

In 2009, Jacob Zuma was elected as South Africa’s fourth democratic President after his party’s victory in the general election. He served as President from May 9, 2009, until February 14, 2018, when he resigned following pressure from the ANC and a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Awards & Achievements

In 1998, Jacob Zuma was awarded the ‘Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership’ for his role in ending political violence in KwaZulu-Natal.

Personal Life & Legacy

Jacob Zuma is a polygamist and has been married six times. He currently has four wives and is believed to be the father of around 20 children from his wives, girlfriends, and mistresses.

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