Zuma: Octopus has nothing on African bones

JOHANNESBURG - Forget Paul the octopus - in Africa only animal bones can accurately predict the outcome of big matches like the World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands, South African President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

Dutch fans have brushed off a prediction they will lose to Spain made by the oracle octopus who has earned worldwide celebrity status by accurately predicting the outcome of all seven of Germany's matches at the tournament.

"Don't listen to the octopus. Here in Africa we throw bones, it's the bones that talk, not octopuses," Zuma said, drawing laughter from African leaders in his country to watch the final.

Many South Africans swear by sangomas, or witchdoctors, who claim an ability to read into the hidden past, or the future, by scattering animal bones on the ground.

But some fans are placing their faith in Paul the octopus, who is based in Germany, or his rival Mani, a Singaporean parakeet credited with forecasting powers who has predicted a win for Netherlands at Soccer City later on Sunday.

"We will hear... which one is telling the truth," laughed Zuma.

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