Editor’s note: Julius Malema and the EFF would have the 6 April declared as a national day of land. The party and its leader embarked on a whirlwind cross country campaign speaking in two provinces to crowds of supporters about a variety of issues. However parts of his words in tribute to the late struggle veteran, uMama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, were most interesting.
Whatever you might feel about him, Julius Malema is proving to be someone who can’t be ignored. Speaking to large crowds of people dressed in red he updated people on his take on the current situation in South Africa, slaying some holy cows in the process as he hit previously taboo topics head on.
While his address dealt with a variety of topics, with the need for land to be returned to the people of South Africa heading the list.
He also touched on the need for children to know their country’s real history, and even whether there is a place in the country for white people.
However it was Malema’s speaking out about some matters which previously would have been considered taboo that was most interesting. Briefly.co.za editor Genevieve Dlamini unpacks some points from the speech he delivered in George.
Mother of our nation
Malema told the crowds that South Africa had lost “a giant” with the death of Winnie Mandela and that there will never be anyone from the ruling party who could come close to filling her shoes. “The next Mother of our nation will come from the EFF!” he said. However, the EFF has in the past been criticized for seemingly not doing enough to rise women within the ranks of its leadership.
'They hated her because they hate African women!'
Yesterday he argued against those who would vilify Madikizela-Mandela by pointing out that firstly, he didn’t believe she had done anything wrong, and secondly, even if she had, it is no different to other actions taken by leaders of the struggle both at home and in exile. “They hated her,” he said, “because they hate African women.”
“They accuse her of many things that they too have done, let me give you one example,” said Malema. “They say Winnie Mandela killed Stompie Seipei, George Fivas, the former apartheid police commissioner, came out and said there was no evidence which implicated Winnie Mandela in the killing of Stompie Seipei. Therefore Winnie Mandela did not kill Stompie Seipei.” he said to applause from the crowd.
READ ALSO: Thabo Mbeki's moving tribute to Ma Winnie
Malema said during struggle-times in exile many suspected of being spies lost their lives under the watch of OR Tambo, Joe Modise, and even Chris Hani, “But today they are not saying you must hate them. But when it happens under a woman, it’s a big problem,” he said pointing out the apparent double standard. “That is patriarchy, that is unacceptable!”
So too, he mentioned how allegations that Madikizela-Mandela had affairs with other men while her husband was in jail are inconsistent with the way men are criticized when they have also been involved in such actions. “All of these male leaders, they slept with women of their fellow comrades, they slept with the children of their fellow comrades. They raped their own children, yet they got elected to even higher offices.”
He then attacked on of the favourite tropes people who seek to demonise Madikizela-Mandela. "When Winnie Mandela said, 'we will liberate country with tyres and a box of matches' she didn't literally mean that," said Malema. "she was trying to scare impimpis that if you sell out the revolution, there will be consequences for you. She did that to protect the revolution!"
He explained that in exile traitors were killed by firing squads, but at home in South Africa where those fighting apartheid didn't have access to weapons and places to use them, necklacing was the only way they had to put those who were are threat to the struggle to death while providing a warning to others who might have considered becoming informers.
"Today those people who are shooting at the people are seen as heroes, but Winnie Mandela, who did not put a tyre on anyone, today she is not a hero, 'she must go and burn in hell' for something she has not done!" he argued.
African male fragility
Malema also decided to poke the sleeping dog that is male fragility, specifically that of black men. "African men who suffer from inferiority, who are scared of women, who can't tolerate a powerful woman, Winnie Mandela is the first powerful revolutionary who is a female, and African."
Malema said world history is all about men with few women given the prominence they deserve. "All those stories are about men. For the first time now, the world will celebrate a female revolutionary, and that woman will come from South Africa! We must love and celebrate the life of Winnie Mandela." He added that her legacy needed to be protected and called on people to isolate those who seek to criticise her unfairly.
He then led the crowd in a moment of silence for the fallen mother of the nation.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Briefly.co.za.
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