Dismiss Malema as a clown at your peril

via Dismiss Malema as a clown at your peril | The Zimbabwean 2 July 2014 by Tatenda Zimura

He has been called foolish, rabble-rouser, firebrand, hero and disgraced – depending on which lenses you choose to view him through. But the truth is that South Africa can dismiss Julius Malema as a clown at it’s own peril.

Events involving the former ANC Youth Leader, now Chief-in-Commander of the Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), have constantly revealed that Malema is not one to be easily wished away. While many are quick to dismiss his utterances as the rumblings of a bitter man, Malema’s influence cannot be underestimated.

In the May 2014 elections, a man who seemed down and out with legal cases hanging on his head like a noose, managed to convince over 1.1milllion South Africans that he is fit to lead their country. His party garnered a decent 6,35% of the total vote.

The man is a radical and speaks out of turn, yet his message seems to resonate with at least 1,1 million people here. Malema is dangerous because he is a man with a wounded ego and a point to prove after being booted out of the ANC, a party he joined at the tender age of nine. He is a man on a mission who wants history to remember him as a revolutionary, so he will stop at nothing to get his point across.

His diction and the choice of clothes he wears to Parliament speak directly to the hearts of the disfranchised and unemployed youths in South Africa’s townships. He appeals to the deep emotional side of the many who are yet to realise the economic benefits of the country’s democracy.

In Marikana, where mining workers went on strike for over four months, more than any other political party, Malema’s position was crystal clear – choosing the side of labour over capital. He has spoken of nationalisation of mines and repatriation of land, hitting the core of the economy and sending nervous laughs and vibrations across the country and across the world. He is consistent, unwavering in his beliefs and rhetoric.

South Africa is a young democracy and therefore fragile. It is a country still safeguarding its delicate democracy and anyone speaking in radical, uncompromising strong language like Malema shakes the roots and foundation of this democracy. The inflexibility of Malema’s choice of words brings fear to many in a country that has experienced how such hard-line talk from both black and white people has led to years of suffering under apartheid.

The man’s own personal story, makes him even more precarious because it relates well to ordinary black South Africa. Malema is the son of a domestic worker whose education level has not been beyond high school, yet his level of confidence would leave you believing otherwise. And because he constantly strikes rapport with the millions, they listen to him. They cling to every word he says and see him as the glimmer of hope in the darkness of unfulfilled promises and abject poverty.

He is charismatic, assertive, uncompromising, youthful and blunt and should not be dismissed as a joke because in so many ways he connects with the millions just like him.


  • comment-avatar
    The Mind Boggles 8 years ago

    Very true and that’s why SA is destined to joint the rest of the continent in abject poverty. Poor uneducated people (Through no fault of their own) will vote for imbeciles who promise the world but can never deliver.

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    Petal 8 years ago

    These idiots just love shouting communist chants to the ordinary people and they live lavishely

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    Actually Julius will in a way delay SA’s demise, his party will forever be in the minority. And now that he is talking nationalisation and land grabbing, it will be difficult for ANC (which will be the majority party for some decades to come) to adopt the same destructive policies without losing face. So there, Juju is SA’s saviour of sorts!

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    Jimbo 8 years ago

    Malema is an idiot with zero intelligence and his policies would bankrupt South Africa within a year. I really hope that his support has peaked in the recent election but time will tell. He can’t take any criticism and if you can’t handle the heat stay out of the kitchen! Unfortunately the masses listen to his rantings but what they don’t realize is that they would be considerably worse off with him in power.

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    Malema is a younger version of Robert Mugabe. If South Africans are dumb enough to follow him down the path of destruction, like Zimbabweans have done with Mugabe, they deserve whatever they get

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      Straight Shooter 8 years ago

      Its Shona Zimbabweans who made Mugabe what he is; not just every Zimbabwean. Please stop generalising.

      Dont forget that the critical elections that really saw to Mugabe’s entrenched rule were in 1980 and 1985 – just before the all too powerful Presidency was installed.

      This was the time Shonas were prepared to die for the gukurahundi and never hesitated to insult, beat up and burn down the homes of all and sundry who they thought stood in their way!!

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    I don’t know if anyone deserves a Mugabe, but I know everyone deserves to be free. Actually, I know that no one deserves a Mugabe. I feel sorry for South Africans, though. I am not one to wish them ill. They just don’t know any better. Unfortunately, by the time they wake up, they will be deep in it just like us Zimbabweans. I know there are some out there who gleefully relish the suffering of many, because the ‘majority’ rule unset them from their privileged life. I am sorry they feel that way and I am sorry they still feel that the Smith regime didn’t harm many people. I really hope South Africans, irrespective of race will turn their energies in building a true democratic state and refuse someone as dangerous as Malema to have legitimate concerns that he can stand on which really resonate with the people. But who am I kidding. Revolutionaries are notoriously very poor and corrupt govenors. South Africa is heading down the well trodden African road of despair. It has to hit rock bottom before it finds itself just like Zimbabwe. Just look and listen at what is happening in Chitungwiza. I hope it spreads. It should spread, otherwise we will never find ourselves and free ourselves from the Mugabe that we don’t deserve.

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    A very well written piece on Comrade Julius Malema possibly on his way to the Presidency of South Africa.Dismiss him at your peril.
    An important message to those South Africans who are intelligent enough to understand. Thank you Tatenda Zimura

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    It’s always the lazy ones who feed on the ignorant and promise them everything. Show me one constructive business this guy has started and run. Just one. People should not be allowed to have kids at will when get cannot feed them clothes them educate them. Those very kids are who follow this idiot.

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    Bazur Wa Kumuzi 8 years ago

    I agree. The ANC is just a very naive organization whose leadership has forgotten that they live in Africa. Democracy as seen and defined in Sweeden, Holland, Germany and UK is not a culture of Africans. Allowing anyone to say anything including the right to insult the sitting head of state publicly, openly saying he should die or drawing him naked and argue that it is a right to display that in a public gallery, creating confusing structures with powerful “legal” rights such as Madonsela that only criticize the ruling party or government officials in Africa is not only naive but just very foolish. In politics there is no clown. Hitler,Idi Amin, Mabuto, Ian Smith, Apartheid leaders etc. What were they?

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    Ruramai 8 years ago

    Bazur, why shouldn’t a head of state be criticised when he fails his people? What African culture are you talking about? Praise singing even when its not deserved?

    What is confusing about a body such as Madonsela’s when all she has done is speak truth to power? You seem to forget that African presidents, like any in the world, are funded by the tax payer. Why should we fund the excessively opulent life styles of presidents who give nothing in return and then be told it is unAfrican to criticise them? Where is the accountability?

    It is people like you who encourage corruption and poor governance. Pathetic.

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    John Thomas 8 years ago

    Even if he becomes president Malema will still be a stupid clown. That cannot change. The man is mentally damaged and cannot be fixed.

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    psalms 58 8 years ago

    Fit in with his agenda or flee

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      William Doctor 8 years ago

      At Psalms 58

      Yes – but he got 6% of the vote. No one is obliged to follow his agenda.

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    petal 8 years ago

    this malema will just live lavishely like he is already doing, having three meals a day, living in a mansion,driving all the posh cars and steal from the coffers

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    JOHNSON 8 years ago


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    Straight Shooter 8 years ago

    Stop exaggerating. Malema is not consistent; not by any stretch of the imagination. He wears Gucci; western fashion but turns around and claims he wont obey parliamentary rules because they are western/British. Is that what you call consistency?

    Malema is only followed by frustrated fools and it is highly debatable whether he will be able to sustain or grow his support base in the long run; particularly if the ANC starts making a real difference in the poverty stricken areas in the next few years.

    Malema still has the sequestration case to sort out apart from the Money laundering and racketeering cases that are due in September.

    Again, dont forget that his “Everything For Free” (EFF) party only scored 6% where COPE managed 8% in its first elections debut. Already, some are complaining on the lack of discipline of their members of parliament. Not everyone is impressed by senseless radicalism.

    Zuma who has been their main bone of contention is on his way out, since this is his last term and soon Cyril Ramaphosa, a highly respected and educated Billionaire businessman will take over. This will ensure ANC remains the party of choice for millions of South Africans.

    Check the democratic culture in the ANC – no other party comes close to this; the total absence of tribalism and the regular change of leaders from Xhosa to Zulu from Zulu to Venda etc; etc and compare that to gukurahundi Zimbabwe with their minority/majority tribe arguments – or many other African countries.

    The ANC is definately a tough act to follow and confused radicalism just wont cut it!!