'Zumalator' app downloads soar after Clarkson mockery

9 December 2016

Digital Content

Zumalator issue 856

Johannesburg - 'Zumalator' – a calculator app parodying President Jacob Zuma's inability to pronounce certain big numbers – has suddenly seen a surge in downloads on the Google Play and iOS stores.

Last year, Zuma sparked local laughter when a video of him revealed how he struggled to read out membership figures of the ANC.

In the clip, Zuma is heard saying: "Our membership figures stood at seven hundred and sixty nine thousand, eight hundred and ...seven hundred, listen properly, seven hundred and sixty nine thousand, eight hundred and twenty...huh.. and seventy members down from one hundred and, one hundred and point two million in 2012."

The Zumalator app then uses Zuma’s voice in solutions to calculations. It uses famous quotes around Number One’s number phrasing as well as a “Nkandla” button.

Phrases such as “my laughing’s not hurtful, it’s healthy” and “I think it’s between seventy-eight-hundred” are included in the app.

The app developer, Cape Town based Justin Nothling, told Fin24 that he was stunned to see how downloads of the app have picked up, especially after it was released on December 30 2015 shortly after Zuma’s sacking of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

When Fin24 asked how he felt about the sudden increase in downloads and numerous job-offers that came along with it, he replied: “I'm feeling 7 hundred and 69 thousand, 8 hundred and 20, and 70%.”

The entrepreneur, app developer and teacher has credited the recent success of the Zumalator to former Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson’s mockery of Zuma during an episode of The Grand Tour series, which aired on Friday.

“It was my little way of making fun of the very serious stuff that was going on at the time,” Nothling told Fin24.

Prior to the surge in downloads, Nothling said that the app had prior to last week received over 19 000 downloads on Google Play and over 15 000 on iTunes. But from Friday last week, the downloads have risen to over 30 000 on Google Play.

“The app is basically a calculator that not only calculates the wrong answer to any sum, but also reads the wrong answer back to you in the Jacob Zuma voice (with pronunciation mistakes and all). It gets me laughs wherever I go,” Nothling told Fin24.

The app comes with a disclaimer explaining that it is for entertainment purposes only and should not, under any circumstance, be used “to calculate personal finances or a country's budget.”

Source: Fin24