When Zingaphi Jakuja (formerly Matanzima) became
a teenage mother at 17, those around her put her
down as a statistic � another youngster with a future
ruined by an unplanned pregnancy.
But the opposite happened. Falling pregnant spurred
Jakuja's determination to prove the odds wrong. And today,
at 30, she is the mouthpiece for the highest offi ce of the land.
As spokesperson for the Presidency Jakuja deals with
both local and foreign journalists, invoking her own
training at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan university in
Port Elizabeth to help her understand the pressures under
which reporters work.
After she completed her university studies in 2002
she joined The Herald newspaper in Port Elizabeth and
later the SABC, but soon realised the seaside town in the
Eastern Cape was too small for her. Jakuja left for Pretoria,
where she joined the government communications and
information systems in 2005 as a policy guru.
She moved swiftly through the ranks, working as a
media liaison offi cer for Zola Skweyiya in the department
of social development and later for the ministry of minerals
Jakuja joined the Presidency shortly after the
inauguration of President Jacob Zuma, becoming the
youngest member of his powerful communications team.
At home in Pretoria she is now mother to three children
and wife to Mthunzi, a technical engineer at the Ford Motor
Company. � Mandy Rossouw
Lunch spot: Smoke, Groenkloof, Pretoria