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By Eric Naki

Political Editor


Zuma gets warm welcome at his birthday bash

Zuma's previous birthday celebrations have never been this energetic, despite the fact that most of the guests are pensioners.


President Jacob Zuma received the warmest welcome from his excited birthday guests at Kliptown.

A marquee erected in an open space off the Freedom Square in Kliptown was filled to capacity by ANC supporters who came to celebrate the president’s 75th birthday.

Most of them, mainly old age pensioners, were wearing yellow T-shirts bearing Zuma’s face and the words “happy birthday Msholoza”.

Freedom songs blared from speakers while the crowd danced in appreciation. Birthday boy Zuma arrived accompanied by bodyguards and officials, as well as his wife Thobeka Madiba Zuma and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini was the only alliance leader present.

This gathering was in complete contrast to the People’s March held in Pretoria earlier in the day. There, every single speaker called for the president to resign.

But here in Kliptown, he was being treated like a hero and a man whose life should be celebrated. The atmosphere resembled an election rally rather than a birthday party.

Zuma’s previous birthday celebrations have been far more muted.

His political allies Nomvula Mokonyane, party deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, and the ANC youth league leadership drummed up the crowd with slogans and songs.

Mokonyane said the marquee could accommodate 20 000 people plus 5000 overflowing into an adjoining smaller marquee at the back.

Some of those who attended were bused from Free State, Mpumalanga and North West.

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