Duduzane Zuma opens up about mom's suicide & her leaked note to media
A new YouTube channel launched in May posted a 45-minute long video of a conversation between Duduzane Zuma and his father on a range of topics including the death of Duduzane's mother, Kate Zuma.
JOHANNESBURG - The personal lives of former President Jacob Zuma and his family have been an enigma of sorts for South Africans for a good two decades - at least until now.
While there is an abundance of information on Zuma's political career and controversies linked to it, most of what has been written about his spouses, children, relationships with various friends, foes and business people has been hearsay, media reports or information from second and third parties. But now, the public has been given some insight into the innermost happenings of the family of South Africa's third democratically elected president.
A new YouTube channel launched in May posted a 45-minute long video of a conversation between Duduzane Zuma and his father on a range of topics including something very personal to both of them - the death of Duduzane's mother, Kate Zuma, who committed suicide in 2000.
Unconfirmed media reports at the time alleged that the marriage between the two was severely strained ad that this was a major contributing factor in her death.
Duduzane speaks about it publicly for the first time: "It was late morning... I was minding my own business... one of the staff members came running in frantically to get my attention. 'Please come with me, there's something going on that we need you to help us with' [said the staff]... I get to your room, and obviously you were not there... They bring me to the room and they say 'look brace yourself, there is something going on here. We're not sure what the situation is, but we need you to come and assist'. When I get into the room, and when I look to the right, mom was laying on the bed, she was non-responsive, frothing at the mouth and I don't think people were aware of what was going on," he said.
"She wasn't speaking, and, you know, we're trying to understand what's going on, until my attention was brought to a note that was in the... walk-in closet. I'm trying to, to read the note - which I do - and the contents of it. Some of it did make some newspapers. How? I don't know, but that's what happened. I walk into the room, I've still got the note in my hand, and all of this happened maybe within a period of seven to 10 minutes."
As he continues to relate the story, he hints at who may have leaked the note to media.
"Reverend Frank Chikane walked in, I'm not sure if you remember. He must have been minister in the Presidency... He walked in and obviously he is known to the family... I remember he grabbed my shoulder and like 'Yo, chill, you'll be fine we're dealing with the situation.' I'm confused, as any youngster would be, and I remember he took the note, we almost had a little arm wrestle match for the note. The last time I saw that note was when he took it from my hands. This is something that, 'til today, feels like yesterday. It's traumatic... Over time, we all deal with things differently.
"I guess I wanted to convey that experience from my side. Which I've never conveyed to you... We're cool, we're in a good space. I've dealt with the tragedy."
His father then responds to his revelation: "Perhaps it's important to do so. I remember you, in particular, because you just switched off and were not talking. I knew that this was in you... A home without a mother, the men can't live there. I just wanted to mention that."
Watch the video below: