The following is a transcription and translation of an extract of a speech by Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema on the 12th of January 2020 in the special elections for the Mamusa Local Municipality (Schweizer Reneke) in the North West Province. Malema delivered this section of the speech in a mixture of English and Sepedi.
This extract is of public interest as it is revealing of the way in which Malema deliberately plays upon feelings of racial inferiority in order to incite the black majority to rise up against the country’s white minority. He suggests that black South Africans are cowards and self-haters for not doing so, instead turning their frustrations and anger on fellow black Africans, like Zimbabweans and Nigerians, in xenophobic violence.
The Oxford academic Jonny Steinberg has described Malema as the “national narrator” of black South Africa, corralling “widespread feelings into a simple narrative”. Steinberg wrote in a recent article in the Financial Mail that “Though I have not seen the question polled, I doubt that more than a small minority of black people under the age of 40 would disagree with much of his take on what has happened in SA since the end of apartheid.”
Whether this is true or not Malema’s message clearly resonates within the broader ANC itself; in ANC-controlled institutions such as the South African Human Rights Commission; as well as among many British and North American journalists, social justice activists, intellectuals and academics.
Apart from being ideologically influential the EFF seems to be the party currently best positioned to benefit electorally from the black majority’s disillusionment with the failures of the ANC government. In the Mamusa by-elections, held on the 15th of January, the EFF more than doubled their share of the vote, from 13,3% in the 2016 local elections, to 29,7%. The Democratic Alliance’s share of the vote halved from 6,1% to 2,7%, as the party neither won back Afrikaner voters it had lost in the 2019 national elections to the Freedom Front Plus, nor made any breakthrough into the black African vote.
Transcript of Julius Malema’s remarks while campaigning for the EFF in the Mamusa Local Municipality elections:
We want to be like Ghaddafi, Ghaddafi of Libya, when you were getting married they will give you a piece of land, which is a way of thanking you and on top of that they would give you a pocket money so that you can go start your family. But here when you are getting married, it is a problem.
If the EFF cannot occupy land, then it is the back yard [for you]. We do not want people who get married in the back yard, we want to give you land.
When this people [the whites] arrived in South Africa, the first thing they took from us is land. Ask yourself why! If they say to you, “what are you going to do with the land, you are useless”, then ask them, if the land is useless why did they take the land away from us?
The second thing is education, they took away African education and instilled in us an education that will make us inferior. We are not confident. They opened the head and remove the brains and instilled fear. We are not confident, we do not trust a black person.
If you go the doctor to remove the tooth and the black doctor enters a room, you just conclude that you are going to die. If you need an injection and you are helped by a black nurse, if you are a man you don’t want to take off the clothes, you say she thinks she is smart. But when the young white girl enters the room you take off the clothes while she is still at the door, this person wants to be naked in front of a white person.
You don’t trust black people, it is not because of you, it is the type of education they have instilled in us! You don’t trust me because you don’t trust yourself. That is how they have done it. They have made us to hate ourselves. We hate ourselves. If you watch TV people are killing each other. Someone will kill you just because you have walked into him. He will say why do you walk into me and pulls out a knife and stabs you, because you are a black person.
They will kill you because you are smartly dressed: “So why are you smartly dressed?”, so he will pull out a knife and stab you. “Why do you enter the room and not greet me?”, he pulls the knife and stabs you.
A white man will hit him, for walking in the farm during the night, he will never take out a knife on a white person. We will be surprised because this person does not know Afrikaans, but he will be asking Baas Jonas not to kill him. But Baas Jonas is fighting with the fists, my brother has got a knife, he will never take out a knife on a white person.
But on a black person you take out a knife on looks. On simple things! Why? It is a self-hate. The first thing black people must do is to love themselves. To show that we don’t love ourselves, we vote for the party [the ANC] that gave us dirty toilets, day in day out. Why? Because we don’t love ourselves.
We vote for the party that does not give us water, day in and day out. Why? Because we don’t love ourselves. We stay in the shacks, during heavy rains learners are unable to go to school because the books are wet. We don’t see anything wrong, tomorrow we go back to vote for the same party. Why!? We don’t love ourselves.
You don’t love yourself so much to know that I cannot stand for this nonsense. Love yourself.
If they can put Malema here, and put the white man here, and give you a gun and say, “shoot any person that you want to shoot”, you are going to shoot Malema, because you are not liberated up there [pointing to his head].
South African people love the white people. The reason they hate me is that [they think] “Malema will make white people leave this country”.
Let them go, if they want to go let it be. It is none of my business.
You must be prepared that when Malema chases the white people, you should see that farm and say, “I marked it, if they leave I am getting in”. But no, “Malema is going to chases the white people, where I we going to get jobs?” But white people are here, still you are not working. 10% of the population controls 90%. Why? Because they have instilled fear in the mind of the 90%.
The first thing you should do as a black man, is not to fear white person.
We were told in church that we must fear God, that is where you are going to get liberated, you must love yourself, when a white person talks to you should say “sorry, can you repeat, what where you saying?”
So, please, when the Nigerians are selling drugs in that house [pointing], you attack with everything. When the Zimbabweans are taking our jobs, you attack them with everything. But white people committed genocide, white people took your land, white people raped our people, white people continue to attack black people. In Coligny they killed them and say they were mistaken them for monkeys, they killed people because they say they have stolen a mealie meal, because they have stolen a sunflower. All of you, you have never combined yourselves and going to attack white man. But when it is a black man, it is easy for you. Yes it is a Zimbabwean, he is a Nigerian.
Why? You suffer from self hate.
There is no Zimbabwean who killed a person and says he is a baboon. There is no Zimbabwean who killed the person and says he stole a sunflower. But when you start xenophobia you attack a Zimbabwean as if he has killed your sibling.
But the people who have killed your own brothers, you have never raised a hand on them. You are unable to break their statues. You are afraid of white people so much that you even afraid of their statues when you see them, you cannot even collapse the statues of white people. That is how much you are scared of them.
Why? You hate yourself [pointing to his chest] You don’t love yourself. You must start loving yourself. It starts on the 15th [of January].
Black man when you leave this place, look yourself in the mirror, “today I am going to start loving this guy. There is nothing that is going to happen which is of less quality to this guy, this guy deserves much better, everything quality, everything long lasting must be given to this guy.” When you are done on the mirror because you cannot see yourself, there is no longer a mirror, you are going to see the next black person. When you look at that next black person, you see yourself, and say “this is me, the pain of this person is my pain, the suffering of this person is my suffering. We shall fight this fight together until we emerge victorious.”