Jacob Zuma

Essay by bradr560University, Master'sA, November 2014

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Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma was born April 12, 1942. He was orphaned at a young age. His father was a policeman, and his mother a domestic worker. Zuma received no formal education as a young boy and had to teach himself how to read and write. He spent most of his childhood moving through suburbs in and around Zululand working odd jobs to try and help his mother support the family. His step brother had fought in World War II and became a trade union activist and member of the ANC. After hearing many of his step brother's stories, he began attending meetings with him and this influenced him to get involved in politics and the ANC.

Zuma joined the ANC and African National Youth League in 1959. He spent the next 3 years attending political education classes in Durban under the influence of Obed Zuma, Stephen Diamini, and Moses Mabhida.

When the ANC was banned in 1961, an armed wing of the ANC, 'Umkhonto we Sizwe', or MK which translated into the 'Spear of the Nation' had formed and was sabotaging actions in Natal. After 3 years Zuma was officially recruited into the MK. He fought against Apartheid with other notable ANC leaders using guerilla warfare and terrorism. They attacked government installations, which led to the group being classified as terrorist organization by South African and American governments. They devised a plan to send 45 recruits, including Zuma, out of the country on the "Freedom Train" for military training. This plan was discovered by the security police and they arrested the group. At the age of 21, Zuma was convicted of and sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to overthrow the government. He served his 10 year sentence at Robben Island which is where Nelson Mandela also served...