Vusi Nhlakanipho Zuma, the son of former president Jacob Zuma, with former US president Barack Obama. Vusi died last Sunday.

Vusi Nhlakanipho Zuma preferred to keep a low profile when it came to his relatives. Zuma was the son of former president Jacob Zuma and chose to stay out of the spotlight when it came to matters relating to his family. This is according to his long-time friend Lusanda Komanisi.

Vusi, 25, died on Sunday at Milpark Hospital after suffering complications of systematic lupus erythematosus.

He was born to Zuma’s late wife Kate Mantsho, who committed suicide in 2000 when Vusi was eight years old. He was the youngest of five children and his siblings include twins Duduzane and Duduzile Zuma.

Vusi’s friend, Komanisi, a long-time professional boxer and former International Boxing Organisation champion, who trained with him at the late Nick Durandt’s gym in Norwood, said he did not want to talk about his father.

Komanisi said Vusi kept it to himself that he was the son of the former president.

“He did not like showing off that he was the president’s son. We also did not want to ruin our friendship by discussing his family business. We treasured our friendship so much so that we had to ignore what other people were saying about his family,” Komanisi said.

Komanisi said he was shocked at the news of Vusi’s death because the last time he had spoken to him, it was over the phone, and he had sounded fine.

A mutual friend had given him the sad news of Vusi’s passing.

An emotional Komanisi said that he planned to dedicate his upcoming fight in September to the memory of his friend.

“We have been friends since we met at the gym in 2013. He was also my sparring partner. But he did not want boxing as a career. He just wanted to get fit. His greatest ambition was to become a successful businessman. His focus was on his business studies,” he said.

American civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson was among the first who sent condolences to the Zuma family.

“Sending prayers for and condolences to former South African president Jacob Zuma and family on the loss of their son Vusi Nhlakanipho Zuma. RIP“ Jackson tweeted.

Other’s who sent tributes included former public protector Thuli Madonsela and former aide to Nelson Mandela, Zelda la Grange.

Lupus is a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.

The funeral service took place yesterday at the Rhema Bible Church in Randburg. He was buried at West Park Cemetery.

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SUNDAY TRIBUNE