CAPE TOWN, (Xinhua) --
South African President Jacob Zuma celebrated his
75th birthday on Wednesday with a pledge to win the
fight against racism.
“We remain committed
to building a non-racial society and will continue to work hard
to unite our people against racism and all it’s manifestations,”
Zuma said in his birthday message.
Zuma said one of his
birthday wishes is to “see us winning the battle against racism
in our country.”
He said he would
also like to see South Africans making more progress in fighting
poverty and inequality.
“We need to make
progress in black economic empowerment to promote true economic
freedom,” Zuma said.
He urged South
Africans to work together to find solutions following the recent
sovereign credit downgrades.
As Zuma celebrated
his birthday, opposition parties and civic organizations
organized marches in parts of the country, calling for Zuma to
The marches were
follow-ups of the nationwide anti-Zuma protests on April 7.
On Monday, Zuma said
these protests were signs of a resurgence of racism.
Zuma said many
placards and posters carried by the protesters “displayed
beliefs that we thought had been buried in 1994.”
depicted black people as baboons, Zuma said, stressing that
“racists have become more emboldened” in the country.
There have been
growing calls for Zuma to resign after he reshuffled the cabinet
on March 31, sacking or replacing 10 ministers and 10 deputy
The reshuffle led
international rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch to
downgrade South Africa’s credit rating to junk status.
As part of his
birthday celebrations, Zuma will join the ruling African
National Congress (ANC) for a celebration rally on Wednesday
afternoon in Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg.
Also on Wednesday,
the ANC sent revolutionary well wishes to Zuma, also president
of the ANC.
Zuma has committed
his life and energies to the liberation of the people of South
Africa, in particular, the oppressed and the poor of the
poorest, the ANC said.
“We salute and are
grateful to him, and many other freedom fighters, for their
unmatched sacrifices in the struggle for a just course,” the
In more than 22
years since the end of apartheid in 1994, Zuma has continued to
pursue the struggle for economic freedom, said the ANC.
“In particular, the
president has been at the forefront of the efforts to build a
National Democratic Society underpinned by radical
socio-economic transformation characterized by inclusive growth
and a better life for all our people,” the ANC said.