Cape Town: Just a few week before the national elective conference of the South African governing African National Congress (ANC), its leader, President Jacob Zuma continues to receive much deserved honours at home and abroad.
A 30-feet monument was unveiled in honour of President Zuma in the North West province of South African in the first week of this month.
This a tourist project to preserve the site where Zuma and 45 others were arrested by the apartheid police as they travelled out of the country for military training in 1963.
And in the course of a just concluded two-day visit to Imo state, Nigeria last weekend, Zuma received the state’s highest honour, a traditional chieftaincy title- Ochiaga (Great Warrior), a street named Jacob Zuma Road, and a life-sized statue.
Zuma and Imo State Governor Rocha Okorocha also joined forces to offer quality education to indigent African children at no cost.
Their foundations, Jacob Zuma Foundation and Rochas Foundation, signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the project.
The South African President and Founder of the Jacob Zuma Foundation, who was accompanied by his wife and top South African businessmen and government officials, described the signing of the MoU “as beginning of the journey of solving Africa’s problem once and for all”.
According to him: “I am partnering with the Rochas Foundation because we share similar passion to educate poor African children.
“Maybe my own passion is as a result of my poor background. I wanted to be a teacher or a Pastor or a Lawyer but none of this dream was fulfilled because I did not go to school.
“So I realised at a young age that education is important to make you as a human being to be able to do whatever you wanted to do.
“So I decided that even though I could not go to school, I must be educated”.
President Zuma, who recalled his challenges while growing up in his poor neighbourhood, argued freedom from colonialism alone cannot solve the continent’s problems or improve standard of living for Africans.
Only education, he said, can liberate the continent, stating “Africans are condemned at birth without education”.
Zuma further noted Africa cannot develop without education, stressing “African continent is carrying the burden imposed on it by the colonialists and the only way they can confront such challenges is through education”.
To pioneer students of the Rochas Foundation College of Africa drawn from 55 African countries, he said: “If I can make it without seeing the walls of any school, you can make it even better because of the quality education you are getting in this Foundation; so make good of the opportunity while you are here”.
Okorocha, President and Founder of the Rochas Foundation College of Africa, said he was glad that the vision he had 17 years ago had materialized.
He informed the colleges have 15,000 students across the nation and over 4,000 graduates in the different fields.
Okorocha said: “As it stands today, I have dedicated 75 percent of my wealth to charity from all my income and whatever I make in my life as a successful businessman 75 percent of it will go to charity.
“I have equally dedicated certain assets of mine not to be inherited by my children even when I am no more those assets have been willed to Rochas Foundation for ever.”
He added: ”Every child here is a story. Of recent we have children from Guinea and Sierra Leone whose parents and relatives all died of Ebola and they were left alone in this world, these children we are now giving hope again to live.
“These ones will go nowhere anymore until they finish their universities and then we shall send them back to their countries where they will contribute to the economic development.”