Malema speaks the language of the poor to the rich and the downtrodden of SA love him for it

2011-06-20 00:00

WHO are your average South Africans? They are young, with a very poor education, limited opportunities and few means. They have nothing, and more importantly, they see no way of getting out of this situation. Every day, they see the people they trusted to lead them to economic prosperityreneging on their promises.Instead, they flaunt their wealth in the face of the poor. They have become uncaring andunhearing. Your average South African is angered by all of this.

There is one politician who speaks from this position. Julius Malema taps into the frustration that the poor feel against the slow crawl of development, by promising swift economic transformation through the nationalisation of key assets and aggressive land redistribution. He is speaking the language of the poor to the rich, and the downtrodden of South Africa love him for it. By refusing to keep to the ANC script on issues like land redistribution and the nationalisation of key assets, Malema now leads the debate in the country on these issues. He has shaped the country’s political discourse. He has changed the texture of the Youth League, the ANC, and by extension, the course of South Africa. That is the power of Julius Malema.

• Sipho Hlongwane writes a column for The Daily Maverick.

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