Alert! Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s former Deputy President, and a high-ranking member of the ruling ANC, has been found not guilty of raping an HIV-positive gender activist by Judge Willem van der Merwe, the presiding judge in a case that has gripped South Africans of all stripes. Some have called it SA’s own “OJ” trial.
As Judge van der Merwe read out his judgment for the better of six hours (starting at 9 a.m. this morning) thousands of the 100% Zuluboy brigade packed a nearby Joburg city square, ready to celebrate or protest the fate of their hero. In the courtroom, several very large men in the gallery were garbed in the traditional regalia of Zulu chiefs, demonstrating a reassertion of ethnic politics in public life here.
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Zuma now moves on to his corruption trial, scheduled to start in just a few month’s time, and which will likely prove a trickier strait to navigate to innocence.