Zuma’s Bastard

No, not one of the actual spawn of Jacob.

Azad Essa is as much a son of Jacob Zuma as he is is the illegitimate child of South Africa’s fledgling democracy. Yet for him Zuma is no leader.

But Essa is certainly not immune to politics. He is politically aware and  he’s got opinions worth listening to. A journalist, columnist and lecturer, Essa came to prominence writing the Accidental Academic, a provocative Thought Leader blog that challenged the established assumptions of contemporary South African culture, politics and events. From day one, it was never shy of controversy – reader reaction was often outraged, always engaged.

After winning Best Political Blog at the 2009 SA Blog Awards, Essa penned his first book and, with it, introduced a subversive, young voice to a new audience. With writing adapted from and inspired by the Accidental Academic, Zuma’s Bastard tackles race and religion head-on, provides an alternative take on the enigma of Julius Malema, gives fresh insight into the Israel-Palestine conflict, casts new light on old stereotypes, vents the frustrations and fears of the next generation – and ultimately offers us all hope for the future.


Buy the book or read a preview of it.


“Witty and fearless… While Azad Essa’s blog garnered acclaim for his edginess and wit, it also received a fair share of flack from critics for his brutal truth-telling techniques and blatant writing style” – The Times

“Azad manages to weave the uncomfortable contradictions and truths of our fractured society into easy flowing, fast-paced prose” - Matthew Buckland, Thought Leader founder and publisher of Memeburn.com

“The real power in this collection lies in its author’s age: the book is a missive from the generation who don’t remember apartheid, and it’s got a lot to say to those of us who do. If Azad Essa is any indication, the next crop of writers is exactly what South Africa needs – the man is abrasive, engaged, uncowed.” – Kevin Bloom, journalist and author of Ways of Staying


“Zuma’s Bastard compellingly offers fresh ideas to tired problems with a keenness and engagement that, I think, makes Azad one of the most lucid voices of our generation” – Khadija Patel, journalist and columnist at the Daily Maverick.

“In what amounts to a self-effacing, gloriously funny 173-page rant – a kind of Muslim counterpart to Portnoy’s Complaint – Essa tackles topics that many another journalist would far rather avoid… The book is not only seamlessly written, it is also chutzpadik, refreshing and – at its core – deeply humanistic” – The Jewish Report

“A much needed counter-voice, Azad Essa’s writing is unaffiliated and unweary” – Mahala Magazine

“Azad Essa is a new breed of South African critical writer who offers fresh perspectives on just about everything he puts his mind to.” - Daily News

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