Britain thinks Africans are barbaric, claims South African President
Friday, March 5, 2010
Zuma accused Britons of considering themselves to be culturally superior owing to their past colonial activities. "When the British came to our country they said everything we did was barbaric, was wrong, inferior in whatever way. Bear in mind that I'm a freedom fighter and I fought to free myself, also for my culture to be respected. And I don't know why they are continuing thinking that their culture is more superior than others, those who might have said so," stated Zuma in an African newspaper.
According to him, he had never "looked down upon any culture of anyone" and that no one has the authority of judging other cultures. Zuma added, "The British have done that before, as they colonised us, and they continue to do this, and it's an unfortunate thing. If people want an engagement, I'm sure we will engage on that issue."
The President's comments were published in a local private newspaper. Zuma, who has three current wives, made these comments after arriving in Britain with Thobeka Madiba, 38, his third wife.
The Queen will welcome them at the Horse Guards Parade and take them to Buckingham Palace thereafter. A state banquet will also be held in his honor at the palace, where he is set to spend two nights.
Zuma, a member of the Zulu tribe, was compelled to make a public apology following a love child with the daughter of a friend. This incident triggered the articles in Daily Mail and Daily Mirror which attacked Zuma.
Zuma, whose state trip includes meetings with Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, as well as a speech to members of parliament, plans to continue with the visit. This was confirmed by officials today.
Vincent Magwenya, Zuma's spokesman said the incident would have no impact in Zuma's trip.
Magwenya stated: "Mr Zuma is in the UK for wide-ranging programme of substantial and serious issues. The comments he made were not aimed at the British public in general but at certain sections of the media which have lambasted him for what he considers to be his culture. Mr Zuma had a meeting with British journalists yesterday and was asked not one question about his private life".
He also added that Zuma did not "appreciate reading things which he considers are patronising to his culture" and claimed that it was obvious that "his comments will have no bearing on the state visit." The President, according to Magwneya, looks forward to the visit and will continue with the full schedule.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance, South Africa's principal opposition party, stated that the reports in the British newspapers did not warrant Zuma's lashing out at Britain.
Kenneth Mubu, of the opposing political party said, said: "Instead of rising above predictable criticism from a particular quarter of the British press, he has allowed himself to be dragged down to the level of the tabloids. By accusing the British people of believing that Africans are barbaric and inferior, he has insulted his hosts, and no doubt undermined the entire purpose of the state visit – which is to strengthen relations between South Africa and the United Kingdom."
The youth sector of the African National Congress supported the President. It expressed its disgust at the British reports.
"British media seem to have developed a habit of rubbishing our president and constantly portray him as barbaric and of inferior belonging," the youth league said. "It is quite apparent that the British media is the one that is characterised and defined by the worst form of barbarism, backwardness and racism. These British racists continue to live in a dreamland and sadly believe that Africans are still their colonial subjects, with no values and principles. They believe that the only acceptable values and principles in the world are British values of whiteness and subjugation of Africans," stated the party.
- David Smith. "British believe Africans are barbaric, says Jacob Zuma" — , March 3, 2010
- Laura Roberts. "Jacob Zuma risks diplomatic embarrassment hours before meeting the Queen" — , March 3, 2010