Speak African languages, visit townships: Malema to white South Africans

EFF leader Julius Malema, outside the US embassy in Pretoria on Monday. Malema challenged black people to date white people to forge integration between races and 'to infiltrate their wealth and land.
EFF leader Julius Malema, outside the US embassy in Pretoria on Monday. Malema challenged black people to date white people to forge integration between races and 'to infiltrate their wealth and land.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times.

EFF leader Julius Malema has challenged white South Africans to teach themselves African languages and visit townships to better understand black people and their struggles.

He was speaking outside the US embassy in Pretoria on Monday during an EFF march in solidarity with global protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police in the US.

Malema said talk was cheap if some white people claimed to be on the side of black people while having limited to no clue about the reality of black lives.

A good start, he said, would be for white South Africans to begin speaking African languages and visiting townships.

No white person in SA can claim to be not racist if they have never been to a township, said Malema. “If you are not racists, why did you not go to the township since you were born?” he asked. “You are staying in Pretoria and you claim not to be racist, but you do not know where Mamelodi is - because you think you are better than Mamelodi.

“Let more white people go to the township and experience our pain, see our misery to understand our anger because we are very angry and make no apology about it.”

Malema accused “white liberals” of pretending to understand black lives when it was all a show. He said there was no excuse for white South Africans not speaking indigenous languages, particularly those born in the country after the dawn of democracy. Claiming to be African while unable to speak African languages was unacceptable, he said.

“Start learning our languages. We know everything about you, yet you know nothing about us. Every day a white man says, ‘I am an African, I was born here.’ But you do not know an African language. Shame on you! Language is your identity.”

Malema challenged black people to deliberately start dating white people to forge integration between races. In this way, black people would also be infiltrating the wealth and land in the hands of white South Africans, he said.

“Let us use all methods to forge the unity of purpose in this country, South Africa - then push it to the continent.”


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