'Words can't hurt me' - Childhood taunts inured Malema against trolls

16 June 2017 - 10:08 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Julius Malema. File photo.
Julius Malema. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy/The Times

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema revealed on Friday that his grandmother was taunted as a witch and he as a terrorist. The manner in which she stood up to their critics inspires him to this day.

Malema commended the type of upbringing his grandmother‚ Sarah‚ gave him in Seshego‚ Limpopo‚ on Metro FM's DJ Fresh morning show.

He first became politically active at the age of 14.

"There was a time when I was still in high school‚ everyone else would speak against me‚ she would too‚ but turned against them when it was time for them to expel me.

"She would stand up and say I thought we are calling children to order and we are not going to be punitive in our approach."

Malema said that his grandmother suffered insults and harassment from the community because of him and this was a "painful" experience for him.

"When she would leave the parents meeting‚ people would curse her. Some would say that their children won't be expelled because of a son of a witch‚ a poor low life‚ referring to Malema‚" he said.

Malema said that because of this background‚ words cannot break him.

"I was insulted from a tender age. I learned early in life that the ultimate outcome might be death‚ imprisonment or being characterised as a terrorist or something like that. We were well trained and prepared for exile too."

The firebrand said that his grandmother understood these dynamics while his mother never agreed with the methods.

He spoke of not knowing his biological father and how his mother died still refusing to tell him about his dad.

"My grandmother could not tell me about him because she respects the wishes of the dead‚" added Malema

Because of his grandmother's strength in raising him‚ Malema vowed to always meet her needs.

"Everything she wants she gets... my grandma never has to ask for money‚ I don't wait for her to ask for it."

- TimesLIVE