ON SATURDAY, I watched the excellent DVD, Africa Rising, by the renowned South African house DJ, Black Coffee. The DVD, which was recorded at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, is one of the best things to come out of Mzansi. That I love house music is not the issue.
What is important, is the fact that the Black Coffee DVD made me think a lot about what, in my recently published short e-book, I refer to as the Zuma Moment. One of the things I find interesting about the Zuma Moment is the effect the ascendancy of President Jacob Zuma to the presidency of the African National Congress (ANC) in Polokwane and that of the country in May 2009 has had on popular culture. This, of course, started with what I believe is the sense of confidence and significance the Zuma Moment has lent to the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
Here, I am not referring to the narrow Zulu nationalism and chauvinism of some among us.
I remember standing at a street corner in Durban during the 2010 national general council of the ANC, where I saw something I had never seen before.
Something about the people of this city was different, and this is something I had not seen when I lived in Lamontville and went to school in Umlazi.
The people I saw in Durban in 2010 exuded a sense of confidence that was new to me, and I am as convinced now as I was in 2010 that the election of Zuma as ANC president and head of state had a lot to do with it.
In terms of popular culture, I believe that the explosion of what in local music we call the Durban Sound is to some extent a product of the Zuma Moment. The influence of kwaito and house artists from Durban such as Zakes Bantwini, Big Nuz, Professor and, of course, Black Coffee, bears testimony to the fact that the Zuma Moment has had an effect well beyond the realm of politics.
Assuming that the Zuma Moment will be extended in Mangaung next month, the influence of the Durban Sound, as well as the sense of confidence it represents, bar some aesthetic shifts, is set to continue too.
Unfortunately for Zuma, what seemed to have subsided has now made a very strong comeback.
In the months leading up to the Polokwane conference, it was argued by some that Zuma lacked the ability to govern a modern state and economy.
The sense of resignation that followed his election has now mutated into a crescendo in the sound and volume of condemnation.
Unlike the Durban Sound, the condemnation is not music to Zuma’s ears, because it is not the sound of veneration.
To the president, it is not the sound of music at all. It is the disparaging, disdainful and shrill tones of the vindicated.
And his outburst in Parliament last week suggests that this is the most atonal and discordant thing he has heard since the heydays of Polokwane. In effect, Zuma has become a political conductor — a medium through which, in part, the Durban Sound transmits all that is perceived to be good and beneficial about the Zuma Moment.
Others, on the other hand, are using the same medium to transmit their perceptions of what they believe is wrong with SA today.
In their eyes, Zuma is the worst thing that has happened to this country since the advent of democracy in 1994.
Unfortunately, the manner in which Zuma dealt with allegations that astronomical sums have been spent to upgrade his home looked to me like a finger — the middle one.
As much as Zuma believes he must be treated with respect, it is incumbent on him to show some respect for the citizens of this country, especially since, as head of state, he is their chief servant.
The fact that some among us are idiotic in their opposition to him does not change this.
Mr President, the decision to treat us with respect or disdain should not be contingent on the conduct of your detractors.
• Matshiqi is a research fellow at the Helen Suzman Foundation.