Julius Malema: South African Politician and Activist


Julius Malema was born in Seshego in an area now known as Limpopo. His mother was a domestic worker and single parent. He joined a group of the African National Congress (ANC) at the age of nine. The group was called the Masupatsela (Young Pioneers). He attended Mohlakaneng High School, Limpopo. He graduated from the University of South Africa (UNISA) in March 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy.

Race in South African Politics

It would be a surprise if race didn’t play a role in South African elections. The colonial and apartheid past of South Africa ranked alongside America’s Deep South as among the most racist social orders worldwide.

Even though a little over half of the country’s middle class is black, poverty is deep and almost exclusively among the blacks. The racial divide is still in force. Even among the biggest parties in South Africa, they have very different perspectives on race. For instance, it is difficult to think that any black would vote for the minority Freedom Front Plus. At the same time, it is also difficult to think that any white would vote for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

The ANC has a Freedom Charter that states that South Africa belongs to all those who live in it- both black and white. The ANC from the 1950s had alliances with organizations centered on people of color of both European and African ancestry. Gradually, it began to open its membership to supporters of all colors before 1990. The ANC’s membership accommodated a nation-wide representation among black Africans.


The population of White South Africans

Although White South Africans constitute about 8% of the population, they are still mighty. They own most capital and most of the companies. They constitute most senior executives in organizations and a significant proportion of management in most professions.

Statistics show that since 1994 the standard of living of white in South Africa are freezing higher than anyone else. There is a wide range of views on color and race relations. Some activists have expressed total separation from the whites, and interracial marriage is usually frowned upon.

South African Society and Its Challenges

The negotiated settlement of South Africa and its transition to democracy looks so much like a fairytale. A brief view of the social indicators in South Africa will put a caution on some of the optimism about the country’s future.

These indicators reflect the quality of society’s life that has been shaped by a turbulent history. There is a political caste structure and changing political Alliances. Some reforms have been intended to put an end to apartheid. Finally, there is a race to be competitive globally and to leave Marks on society. There is a call on the nation to live up to its potential as a leader in Africa.

In light of this, comparing the living conditions in South Africa with those of similar economies would indicate that the country lags in securing the population’s overall and widespread socioeconomic upgrade.

A review of South Africa’s cross-section and trends over time shows that there is a deep divide in the society. There is a great backlog of social-economic development. There are flaws in the fabric of South African society.

Popular expectations of future quality of life indicate that the joy that followed the first democratic elections has been replaced by a sense of realization of the truth among all population sectors. Truth in the sense that, as reflected in South Africa’s social indicators, the quality of life could worsen before it improves.

The challenge will now be to avoid economic “apartheid,” which would depress the quality of life of sectors that feel marginalized at the economically privileged expense.


Julius Malema Quotes

Defending their rights

One only needs to dig a little below the surface of the blacks’ history in South Africa to appreciate the position of Julius Malema and other members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). They have witnessed firsthand a struggle for equitable distribution of resources, particularly land. They have witnessed firsthand a struggle for opportunities to improve the quality of their lives and loved ones around them.

The unfortunate reality is that the life they hope to live seems to elude them with every passing day. Therefore, they have resorted to stand up for themselves and defend their rights in the land of their fathers rather than leave things to fate.

Political Career

Julius Malema was elected chairman of the Youth League branch in Seshego in 1995. In 1997 Malema became the chairman of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), leading the Limpopo province. Shortly after this, he let the march by school pupils through Johannesburg.


Malema was elected as the president of the ANC Youth League in April 2008. He won by a narrow majority during an election described as contentious and fraudulent. During the April 2009 presidential elections, Malema campaigned for Jacob Zuma. Jacob Zuma later became the president of the ANC and South Africa.


In the runoff to the 2009 elections, Malema made an inciting statement that they were “ready to take up arms and kill for Zuma.” This drew criticism from the public. He also sang a liberation song that included the words “shoot the Boer.” He continued to sing the song until he was charged with hate speech in 2010. In September 2009, Malema was involved in a controversy with Nedbank after the bank decided to stop sponsoring Athletics South Africa (ASA). He threatened to mobilize people to withdraw their Nedbank accounts.


In April 2010, Malema visited Zimbabwe. When he landed in Zimbabwe, supporters of Zanu-PF welcomed him. Other distinguished individuals welcomed him, including Zimbabwe’s Youth and indigenization minister Saviour Kasukuwere. During his visit, Malema criticized the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, calling him an ally of imperialists. Youth organizations in Zimbabwe criticize Malema’s visit because of his controversial statements and corruption charges.


Money Laundering and Tax Evasion Charges


In September 2012, Julius Malema was charged with money laundering. This was in connection to contracts he awarded in Limpopo. The court ordered him to pay a fine of R10,000.  Again, in 2013, Malema was charged for tax evasion to the tune of R16 million. He reached an agreement with the revenue service in 2014. In 2016, the revenue service claimed that Malema breached the agreement’s terms and owed R16 million.


Expelled from ANC


In April 2010, Julius Malema was involved in-public outbursts. He exchanged angry words with a BBC journalist during a press conference. He also publicly insulted Jacob Zuma and a number of notable politicians. In May 2010, the ANC disciplinary committee called Malema to a disciplinary hearing. He publicly apologized for his behavior and agreed to a suspension should he engage in similar behavior within two years. Over the following year, Malema continued the ANC’s rhetoric and behavior deemed disruptive and inconsistent with their values.


Malema lost an appeal of his suspension as the ANC youth league president. He was found guilty of sowing divisions within the party and soiling its name by calling for Botswana’s democratically elected President to be overthrown. In April 2012, Malema was expelled from the ANC.


In July 2013, Malema launched a new party called the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The party is characterized as a radical, leftist, and anti-imperialist movement. The party echoed many controversial ideologies that Malema had voiced while in the ANC.


The Land Issue

While paying tribute at Winnie Mandela’s funeral, Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, he addressed her request that he should return to the ANC.

Speaking in the presence of President Cyril Ramaphosa and other ANC chieftains, he said: ” Mama, you said we should come back to the ANC. But which ANC are we to go to? The same one that betrayed you?


The ANC backed a motion from the EFF that sought to change the constitution to allow for land exploration without compensation. The president admitted that the land question had not been fully addressed.

While addressing supporters about the land issue back in 2016, Malema stated that it would be recovered by any means necessary. He was speaking about an area of disputed land being occupied by white farmers.

“We do not call for white people to be killed. At least not yet. What we seek is a peaceful occupation of the land. And for this, we owe no one any apologies.”

In an interview with a broadcaster, Malema defended his comments, describing anyone who believed he was inciting genocide as “crybabies.”


EFF Party Not against Whites

According to Malema, the Economic Freedom Fighters party was not at war with all white people. However, he believes that there are white racists and white supremacists. These, according to him, are the enemies. For instance, the party has white lawyers and doesn’t discriminate against them.

Malema has been vocal about the rights of his people. He is the kind of activist who doesn’t hold back. Although he seems to always be in confrontations one way or the other, mostly, they are situations where civic rights are being ignored.

They woke up only to discover their lands occupied by white people they see as visitors. Whereas many of the indigenes or “sons of the soil” do not have lands. This is the basis of the redistribution they have advocated for.


France Sells Arms to Egypt Amid Rights Controversies
Things Our Schools Need to Teach About Africa
Mark Shuttleworth: The First African in Space


Related Posts

Illuminating the Promise of Africa.

Receive captivating stories direct to your inbox that reveal the cultures, innovations, and changemakers shaping the continent.