Friday, December 28, 2007

Just your average campaign song: "Bring Me My Machine Gun"

This is Jacob Zuma, the new leader of South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress--and because of this, the instant front-runner for the presidency. He's singing Mshini Wami, "Bring Me My Machine Gun", his signature song, one that dates back to the liberation struggle. I can't say that it seems like an entirely good thing that Zuma is on track to be South Africa's next president, but watching him sing this song with his supporters embodies some part of what is wonderful yet terrifying, unstable yet enduring, and both ugly and beautiful about South Africa.