The name Julius Malema may not ring a bell but you may have seen his face in a couple of memes or videos. That’s the perception people living outside South Africa have of him. He is otherwise known as an outspoken leader in his country, stirring serious political debates whenever he can. How well do you know him though? You’ll let us know down in the comment section below as we list down the top 10 things you didn’t know about Julius Malema.
10. He hails from Pedi Political Dynasty
He hails from a cultural group known as the Pedi people. This term refers to the various groupings that speak various dialects of Sotho in its broadest sense.
9. He is the son of a single parent
The struggles of his mother might have an impact on the political inclination that he took in ANC. He is the son of a single parent who earned her living as a domestic worker.
8, He is against Capitalism
Julius claims that privatization is the main cause of people lacking jobs and only a few individuals owning the wealth that should have been evenly distributed to the people. He is also the biggest proponent of South Africa’s mines.
7. His affiliation with African National Congress
Julius joined the African National Congress’ Masupatsela at the age of nine years old. His main role at that time was to remove national party posters. Talk about having political ambitions at an early age (1990). His tenure with the party lasted over 22 years until 2012 when he was exiled from the party. This leads to the next point…
6. His exile from African National Congress
During his time with the party, he was involved in numerous controversies (which we shall get to later). What actually got him in trouble is when he was found guilty of contravening rules of the party’s constitution. His actions were claimed to have portrayed the ANC government and its leadership under President Zuma in a negative light which supposedly to sow division within the party.
This saw him get suspended from the party for five years in 2011. Later on, in February 2012, Julius was stripped of his title and party membership. Julius later formed his own party, Economic Freedom Fighters. The party is known for wearing red outfits to parliament and rallies.
5. His vocal support for Jacob Zuma
In 2008, South Africa conducted an indirect presidential election after Thabo Mbeki. ANC’s preferred candidate was Jacob Zuma and it seemed that the support he was getting was too extreme. Malema went on record on June 16 2008 at a youth day rally to say that the youth league would take up arms and “kill” for candidate Jacob Zuma. This was ultimately slammed by the opposition, citing it as hate speech while ANC distanced itself from the remarks.
However, he didn’t stop there when he vowed on September 10 2008 to eliminate any force blocking Zuma’s path to the presidency.
Julius Malema, 2008
“Any force in our way we will eliminate. We are on a mission here. We will crush you. It doesn’t matter who you are, even if you are in the ANC,”
4. Shoot the Boer
Julius Malema sang the lyrics “shoot the Boer” from the anti-apartheid song “Ayasab amagwala” (The cowards are scared) at a rally on a university campus. Malema’s singing of the song led to a barrage of complaints against him, both to the police, and to the South African Human Rights Commission.
3. Mainstream media perception
Thanks to his controversies, Malema’s public profile has grown over the years causing the media to describe him as a demagogue. Others going as far as calling him a fascist. Julius was listed in Time’s Least Influential People of 2010 whereas conversely Forbes magazine named him as one of the 10 Youngest Power Men in Africa in 2011.
2. Jacob Zuma’s Rape case 2009
For the record, Jacob Zuma has had more than one rape case (the other one being in 2006). The only reason I’m mentioning the 2009 case is Malema’s remarks about the whole situation. He claimed that the accuser had a nice time with the former president.
“When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money. In the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money. You can’t ask for money from somebody who raped you.”
He was eventually convicted of hate speech. The Equality Court ordered him to make an unconditional apology and pay $3500. It’s amazing how he fought for Jacob Zuma during his time at ANC. Things took an interesting turn after he was expelled.
1. Being kicked out of parliament several times
To him, it’s like an annual festival. We can trace him being kicked out way back in 2014. Here is a timeline of the times he has been kicked out.
- 2014: After refusing to withdraw his statement that the ANC government had killed the miners in Marikana.
- 2015: After refusing to retract comments in which he accused Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of being a “murderer”.
- 2016: For heckling Former President Jacob Zuma’s State of Nation address.
- 2017: For the same reason as that of 2016. He really didn’t give Jacob Zuma breathing space.
- 2018: For hurling insults at DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen who also returned the favor.
I’m waiting for the 2019. I wouldn’t want to miss it.