Zuma was born on 12 April 1942 in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. His father was a policeman who died when Zuma was young, and his mother was a domestic worker. He received no formal schooling.
Gordhan was born on 12 April 1949 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. He matriculated from Sastri College. In 1973 he graduated from the University of Durban-Westville with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree.