To look at him on his Twitter timeline, Jacob Zuma is the personification of innocence, softly spoken, open-faced and puppy-like in his vulnerability.
And that is exactly what he – and the clever people behind him putting his propaganda “makeover” campaign together – want you to think.
It is not going well for Zuma and his clique in the courts, whether they be criminal or commissions of inquiry, which is why he and his advisers have decided to fight his struggle (it is more than a case) in the court of public opinion.
Now, he is portraying himself as the harmless, entertaining uncle who is being persecuted for no reason by his enemies. And who can feel angry about an old man who shuffles along playing football with youngsters or who sits down at the annual chess tournament hosted by his foundation?
That imagery has been carefully crafted to divert the attention of South Africans from the reality that, under his watch – 10 years of rampant looting and state capture – the country has been driven to its knees, economically.
More than that, though, Zuma and his cynical supporters have used race as a way to try to derail any questioning of the state capture project. Ironically, the core argument of the Zuma-ite racists is that “white monopoly capital” is at the heart of ongoing oppression of black people. Yet that very concept was dished up as part of a Gupta-funded propaganda campaign by British spin doctors Bell Pottinger.
Worryingly, the one thing Zuma has on his side is time.
Judicial processes drag exceedingly slow at the best of times and Zuma and Co have shown they are willing to fight every clause and count to stay out of jail.
So, don’t be taken in by this cynical charlatan.