Things you may not know about Julius Malema
We all know Malema as the outspoken former leader of the African National Congress Youth League and current leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters but what else do we know about this boat rocker?
- Julius Sello Malema was born on 3 March 1981, in Seshego, Limpopo.
- His mother was a domestic worker and a single parent.
- Malema was raised by his grandmother Sarah, after his mother Florah died of an epileptic fit.
- He joined the African National Congress's Masupatsela at the age of nine or ten. His main task at the time, was to remove National Party posters.
- At the age of 14 Malema was elected as both chairperson of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) branch in Seshego and the regional chair in 1995. Two years later in 1997, he became the chair of the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) for the Limpopo province.
- He went to Mohlakaneng High School in Limpopo where he made repeated attempts to complete his education. He failed two high school grades as well as several subjects in his final secondary school examination. His highest mark attained at school was reported as a 'C' for second language English and his lowest marks were published as an 'H' (sub 33%) in maths and a 'G' (sub 40%) in woodwork, all on the standard grade. When his high school marks were published online, the ANCYL dismissed the published marks as 'fake', but the South African Department of Education later confirmed the legitimacy of the much-publicized results.
- Malema graduated from Mohlakaneng High School in Seshego, Limpopo in 2010 and completed a two-year diploma in youth development through University of South Africa (UNISA).
- Malema has a son who is 8 years old.
- He was listed in Time's Least Influential People of 2010.
- Conversely Forbes Magazine named him as one of the "10 Youngest Power Men In Africa" in September 2011.
- Malema has always had 'a physical temper to match his vicious tongue'. While running for Cosas president, Malema pummelled a peer’s face in so badly he narrowly avoided assault charges (a small donation made to the plaintiff smoothed matters over).
- Malema is known for his controversial statements and has become a frequent target for lampooning. In 2003, as head of COSAS, Malema said in a statement that the student union would do anything, including “burning the prison she is locked in”, to prevent the jailing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
- In June 2008, he made international headlines by vowing that the Youth League would take up arms if the prosecution of Jacob Zuma for alleged fraud and corruption continued. In an address to a Youth Day rally in Thaba Nchu, which Zuma attended, Malema said, “Let us make it clear now: we are prepared to die for Zuma. Not only that, we are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma.” The remark drew widespread condemnation and complaints. The ANC partially distanced itself from the statement the following day.
- On 15 March 2010, Malema was convicted of hate speech by the Equality Court, fined R50 000 and ordered to apologise unconditionally, following a 2009 incident when he told a group of Cape Town students at a South African Students' Congress (SASCO) meeting that the woman who accused ANC president Jacob Zuma of rape had a "nice time" with him because in the morning she had "requested breakfast and taxi money". Following the conviction SASCO expressed "delight" at the ruling and attacked Malema for the "gratuitous abuse" of the platform that SASCO granted him.
- In March 2010, at a rally on a university campus Malema sang the lyrics "shoot the Boer" (Dubul' ibhunu) from the anti-apartheid song "Ayasab' amagwala" (the cowards are scared). "Boer" is the Afrikaans word for "farmer", but is also used as a term for any white person. His singing was compared to similar chants by deceased Youth League leader Peter Mokaba in the early 1990s, to "kill the boer", which had previously been defined as hate speech by the South African Human Rights Commission.
- In July 2011, it was alleged in a report that a secret family trust of which Malema is the sole trustee may explain how he has been bankrolling his lavish lifestyle. The report alleged that the Ratanang Family Trust, named after Malema’s son, was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria on 13 May 2008, five weeks after he was elected president of the ANCYL. The paper further claimed that several senior politicians, companies, mayors, contractors and municipal managers deposited "thousands" into the account in exchange for Malema facilitating deals and pushing their agenda.
- His racial politics were seen by many as dividing the country rather than uniting it, and he was convicted of a hate speech on several occasions.
- In 2012, Samuel Manyapye, claimed to be Julius Malema's father. “I want to reconcile with the boy – he’s my flesh and blood, but he wants nothing to do with me. It hurts. I would die a happy man after sitting down and having a talk with him. I can imagine how he feels and I don’t blame him. I deserted him and his mother when I went to work on a gold mine in Orkney, but he’s still my son", said Manyapye in a Drum article. Malema denied the relation in an article published by All4Women, "There are about ten men claiming to be my father. He is not my father. Everyone wants to be my father just to get to me."
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