Pretoria – EFF leader Julius Malema said studying towards his BA Honours degree in Philosophy was a difficult challenge and that he found himself having to choose between the academic programme and politics.
As Malema took to the podium to receive his degree, the audience at the ZK Matthews Hall at the University of South Africa's (Unisa) Pretoria campus cheered and chanted.
Malema said while it had been a difficult journey, it had also been exciting, but he had had to change a lot of things in his life to accommodate the academic programme.
Malema said he had to postpone an exam that he was supposed to have written a day before the State of the Nation Address earlier this year.
"I was not going to attend the State of the Nation [Address]. When I heard that he [President Jacob Zuma] called the soldiers to Parliament, I had to abandon that exam and go and lead from the front, because I was not going to allow a situation where EFF members were going to confront the soldiers and I would be absent," said Malema.
"It is possible when there is an interest. All of us pretend not to have time but in reality we have a lot of time, we just have to create it and reprioritise our own things."
Afrikaans 'must fall'
Malema's dissertation for his honours degree focused on the Afrikaans language as a conduit for white supremacy.
"I strongly believe Afrikaans is being used to perpetuate white supremacy in South Africa and it is an issue that I believe, even black African people who are speaking Afrikaans agree with [this belief]."
"When you say Afrikaans must fall, it's not necessarily against the people who speak Afrikaans, but it's against Afrikaans as a symbol that perpetuates whiteness and therefore it must fall."
Unisa principal and vice-chancellor Professor Mandla Makhanya congratulated Malema on completing his studies while also leading a political party.
"We wish him the best and hope he will continue with his education [and] by doing so encourage young people to take education seriously in order to uplift their lives," said Makhanya.