Raymond Zondo and Jacob Zuma: The man from Ixopo vs the man from Nkandla

Two men, both born into rural poverty in KwaZulu-Natal and raised by their mothers to eventually occupy the highest offices in the land, nonetheless have little in common and might never have had to engage with one another — had not one of them, Raymond Zondo, become the implacable foe of the epochal corruption that the other, Jacob Zuma, presided over, writes Patrick Bulger

13 December 2020 - 00:00 By Patrick Bulger

Nkandla and Ixopo are towns in KwaZulu-Natal, separated by 260km of road and historical differences wide enough to drive a king-size herd of Nguni cattle through. Nkandla has a special place in Zulu history, its forests providing cover for Zulu warriors in times of war. There is some dispute over whether the name signifies “place of hiding” or place where you get so tired trying to find someone hiding that you give up. The last of the Zulu kings, Cetshwayo kaMpande, is buried there.

It was from the forests of Nkandla that Chief Bhambatha kaMancinza, head of the Zondi clan, led his last-stand rebellion, against the British poll tax, in 1906. Just as it was a hiding place for Bhambatha then, so today does it provide shelter from the storm in the modern era, but the fugitive is former president Jacob Zuma. His homestead, “Nkandla”, is some distance from the town, a monument to big-man nonaccountability in a sea of want, a grotesque middle finger to SA, complete with silly fire pool...

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