In an astonishing twist of fate, the XV BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg witnessed a surprising encounter between two prominent figures: former South African President Jacob Zuma and incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa. The momentous occasion, marked by a handshake between the two leaders, has garnered widespread attention both within the nation and on social media platforms.
Jacob Zuma, known for his vocal criticisms of Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership, made headlines by attending the BRICS Summit. The summit, an international platform for the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to discuss global economic cooperation, turned heads as Zuma and Ramaphosa exchanged a friendly handshake.
The photograph capturing the handshake, which has now become viral on social media, depicts a significant departure from the recent acrimony between the two leaders. Zuma, who has been embroiled in a legal battle seeking a Private Prosecution against President Ramaphosa, appeared to set aside their differences, if only for a moment. The unexpected display of camaraderie is particularly intriguing given the context of their ongoing legal disputes.
The social media response has been swift and diverse. One user expressed surprise at the warm interaction, highlighting Zuma’s presence at the event and his seeming enthusiasm for President Ramaphosa. However, Nathi Sithole, an ally of Jacob Zuma, offered a different perspective, suggesting that Zuma’s presence elevated the event’s stature after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s absence.
The iconic photograph was taken during the XV BRICS Summit 2023 Reception Banquet and Cultural Showcase at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg. The event drew not only Zuma and Ramaphosa but also other dignitaries, such as former Botswana President Ian Khama. The convergence of these political figures at an international summit underscored the potential for diplomatic gestures to transcend personal differences.
The encounter between Zuma and Ramaphosa has sparked conversations about the complex dynamics of South African politics. Observers are keen to understand whether this fleeting moment of unity carries any implications for the political landscape of the nation. While it remains to be seen whether this handshake will translate into substantive cooperation, it undoubtedly serves as a reminder that even adversaries can find common ground under unique circumstances.
As the photograph continues to circulate on social media, it serves as a testament to the unpredictable nature of politics and the power of unexpected gestures to capture the public’s imagination. The XV BRICS Summit will likely be remembered not only for its economic discussions but also for this historic handshake that defied expectations.