Zuma was defending the government’s plans to introduce e-tolls on the highway between Johannesburg and Pretoria on Wednesday when he made the remark that angered a lot of Malawians.
“We can’t think like Africans in Africa generally. We’re in Johannesburg…. This is not some national road in Malawi,” he said.
Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj also said in a statement that Zuma’s remark had been taken out of context and blown out of proportion.
But these remarks infuriated a lot of Malawians who took to twitter and facebook to lampoon Zuma. Stanley Onjezani Kenani, a Malawian writer based in Geneva, Switzerland, wrote Maharaj, saying Zuma’s remarks were ‘condescending towards sovereign states’.
“I have just read your ‘clarification’ of the remarks made by the President of South Africa, which are most disparaging to the Republic of Malawi. Despite your efforts to clarify this statement, it remains entirely unclear to me why President Zuma mentioned Malawi in his analogy.
It can only be with one intention, that is, to use, by way of example, what he considers the most backward nation, one that thinks most ‘African.’ It does not escape some of us that most South Africans, despite the help they got from fellow African states to fight apartheid, do not consider themselves African, but it scares us when such thoughts are shared by the President of the Republic of South Africa.”-AFRICAGVILLAGE