President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday explained the Zulu saying “Iyabhubhudla inkezo”, which he used at the recent ANC elective conference, just before the announcement of his successor as ANC president.
Zuma was singing his famous Umshini Wami song on December 18 when officials from EleXions Agency arrived to announce his successor after more than 4 000 delegates had voted.
When he saw the officials, he stopped singing and loudly and excitedly said: “Sebefikile [They have arrived]. Iyabhubhudla inkezo [The gourd bubbles]”.
Speaking at the 16th Jacob Zuma RDP Education Trust Senior Citizen’s Christmas Party in his hometown in Nkandla on Wednesday, Zuma said that by using the saying he simply meant that a good time was being had at the conference.
He said the saying was used to invite a passer-by in when there’s beer and festivities at one’s home.
“During the ANC conference in the past few days I said, ‘Iyabhubhudla inkezo’. Many people have been asking what I meant. When we’re in a festive mood back at our homes in the rural areas, inkezo (gourd) is used to fetch beer from a traditional Zulu pot (ukhamba),” he said.
Zuma said when the gourd is lowered into the beer pot, it creates bubbles which suggest that there’s still plenty of beer in the pot.
“When someone passes by while I’m stretching outside my house. I don’t tell him to ‘come here we’re drinking’, but I say, ‘Iyabhubhudla inkezo’. In other words telling him we’re having a good time here, we’re drinking,” he explained.
“What I meant was that we were having a good time at the conference,” he said.
‘Don’t take it the other way’
Zuma’s preferred candidate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was up against the country’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa won with 2 440 votes compared to Dlamini-Zuma’s 2 261 votes.
“Don’t take it the other way, because I see some people would try to explain it in another way,” he said.
The former ANC president did not explain how the saying could be taken “the other way”.
Zuma, who also gave the elderly Christmas gifts, said respecting senior citizens was a “beautiful” thing.
“If you don’t respect elders, angels and ancestors will turn their backs on you. Old people are very important,” he said.
Zuma said the events such as Wednesday’s were important to the government.
“This kind of Christmas gives government a chance to be close to elderly people. I wish the grandfathers and mothers a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year,” he said.