Johannesburg — Confirmation that President Jacob Zuma, who has three wives and a fiancee, has fathered a child with yet another woman has prompted jokes in South Africa’s media but has also hit a nerve in a country hardest hit by the virus that causes AIDS.
For a president whose political career survived a rape trial, Zuma is expected to emerge relatively unscathed from the disclosure that he is the father of a baby girl born in October. Even so, the political opposition says he is a poor role model in a country where an estimated 5.7 million of South Africa’s 50 million people are infected with HIV, more than any other country. And even ordinary South Africans are left wondering.
“All these AIDS campaigns tell us that to have one partner but our president has five,” said Phemelo Mmitsinyane, an 18-year-old University of Johannesburg student.