Jacob Zuma , in full Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (born April 12, 1942, Nkandla, South Africa), politician who became president of South Africa in 2009. Prior to that he served as the country’s deputy president (1999–2005), and he has served as president of the country’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), since 2007.
Zuma received no formal schooling. He joined the ANC in 1959 and its military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), in 1962. He was arrested in 1963 and sentenced to 10 years in prison on Robben Island for conspiring to overthrow South Africa’s apartheid government. After his release, he set up underground networks to recruit for Umkhonto we Sizwe. In 1975 Zuma fled the country to escape arrest. For more than a decade, he continued to work for the ANC while based in neighbouring countries—first in Swaziland and then in Mozambique. He became a member of the ANC’s national executive committee in 1977. After the government of South Africa exerted pressure on that of Mozambique, Zuma was forced to leave the latter country in 1987. He then went to ANC headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, where he served as head of underground structures (organizational units) and head of the intelligence department.
When the South African government’s ban on the ANC was lifted in 1990, Zuma returned to the country and was elected chairperson of the southern Natal region. He became ANC deputy general secretary in 1991, and in 1994 he became a member of the executive committee for economic affairs and tourism in the newly created province of KwaZulu-Natal. In December 1997 he was elected deputy president of the ANC, and in June 1999 he was appointed deputy president of the country by Pres. Thabo Mbeki.
Zuma was widely expected to eventually succeed Mbeki as president of the ANC and as president of the country. In June 2005, however, Mbeki dismissed him after the fraud and corruption conviction of one of Zuma’s close colleagues, businessman Schabir Shaik. The judge in that case found that there was