He supposedly joined the Masupatsela (“Trailblazers”) pioneer movement of the African National Congress at age 9, 10 or 14 according to different sources. Their main task was to remove National Party posters from outside police stations. They all agree that by age 14 he was receiving military training – was this for the daunting task of removing the posters from out side police stations we have to ask!! At this point it was 1995 and Mandela and the ANC were already ruling South Africa. There were many people out there who risked their lives in their real fight for Freedom from the apartheid government but just where does Malema fit in to all this!
His school career was undistinguished and he failed two high school grades as well as several subjects in his final secondary school examination. He finished his secondary school education at age 21 which would be end of 2002!!! We have all heard the rumours at how well he did in the woodwork class. Let me remind you all that soldiers don’t make coffins so he didn’t need the woodwork proficiency!!!
His early political career is very interesting. Malema was elected as chairman of the Youth League branch in Seshego, Limpopo and the regional chairman in 1995. This puts him at 14 years of age and also removing those posters from outside the police stations!!! Being so busy school was just a means to an end!!. In 1997 at 16 years of age he became the chairman of the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) for the Limpopo province. Would YOU be worrying about a woodwork class with all this responsibility at such a young age!! He just wanted to stay at school. Some of our children do post matric to stay at school and play sport, he just had other reasons!!! He was elected as the national president of that organisation in 2001 when he was 20 and still at school. There was method to his madness!! In 2002 at 21 years of age when most of us are celebrating the key to our futures at the coming of age 21st birthday and getting drunk on all sorts of drinks, Malema led a Cosas march by school pupils, through the streets of Johannesburg that was marked by serious incidents of violence and looting!!
Malema was elected as the president of the ANC Youth League in April 2008. It was a close race at a national conference held in Bloemfontein. The election – and the conference – were characterised by what Malema himself later described as “unbecoming conduct” which rumour has it – this unbecoming conduct is following him around since then. (BBC journalist incident, Kill the boer song, to name but a few!!). Allegations of irregularities in the polling procedure saw the conference adjourned shortly after the election results were announced. Malema’s election was officially accepted when the conference was resumed only in late June. The integrity of his election has been criticised and questioned!!
Malema is well known for his controversial statements like – “He is a girl” and more recently on relationships – “one man one woman but that does not mean I’m against polygamy”!! He also said “One of the things I have learnt is never rely on any individual who is in politics,” – So there we have from the horses mouth!!.
I am not sure about all of you out there but I will be watching the political arena with interest over the next few months. He is attacking the old men in politics saying they must give way to be ruled by the ANCYL and younger men and that they (the ANCYL) should have better representation in ANC matters. This week during the league conference he surprisingly extended that to his mentor Robert Mugabe saying “Mugabe must go and must hand over to those young chaps so that we can engage with (them) on the same level,”!!
While solving Zim’s problems he did admit to “sometimes power makes you drunk” but this statement was directed at Mr Tsvangirai and definitely not himself!!
So with power, drunk and younger chaps in mind this ANC conference around the corner could be very very interesting!!