Why don’t whites in the ANC speak African languages? – Malema asks

10 May 2018 - 14:11 By Penwell Dlamini
EFF leader Julius Malema
EFF leader Julius Malema
Image: Alon Skuy/THE TIMES

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema has questioned why whites in the ANC and other political parties do not make an effort to learn African languages to better understand the people they serve.

Speaking to the media in Braamfontein on Thursday‚ Malema said he had read an article written by EFF communications manager Sixolise Gcilishe in which she praised Nelson Mandela Metro mayor Athol Trollip for being fluent in IsiXhosa.

“I don’t agree with her but she raises a very important point in that article – that guy [Trollip] speaks Xhosa fluently. That guy has taken a decision to take that risk of speaking our language.

“Sixo goes on to say none of the minority leaders in the liberation movement speak any of our indigenous languages. Then I counted them. None of them speak our languages. Those who said they are fighting for the liberation of black people – be it Indians‚ coloureds or whites – do not speak our languages the way Trollip does.

“Trevor [Manuel] tries and is terrible at it. Actually Helen Zille is better than Trevor Manuel. No‚ no‚ Helen Zille is better than the majority‚ if not all the minority people in the liberation movements. Joe Slovo never spoke any of our languages.

“Let’s take Amandla comrades‚ something that they say all the time. They still can’t say it properly. They still can’t pronounce it properly. They have said that [Amandla] throughout their lives. That is how much they don’t take us serious. Trollip didn’t learn it because he was leadership but he was in the farms there and had to exploit our people properly‚ so they had to hear him‚” Malema said.

He then accused the ANC of treating whites differently‚ even those who were part of the struggle.

“There is a senior veteran of the ANC who says to me there is a black family that arrived in Lusaka and a white family arrive in Lusaka‚ both driving together. The black family was taken to the camps; the white family was taken to apartments. When the leadership was asked why did they take white people to apartments‚ they said ‘you know they are not used to this type of life‚ it is for us’‚” Malema said.

He added: “White South Africans don’t see the need to know our languages because even whites who claim to be with us‚ do not speak our languages…Language plays a very important role in terms of influencing your understanding and thinking of issues.”

Malema said the EFF did not want to kill any white people but wanted to deal with white supremacy.

“No white person hates Malema in South Africa because Malema wants to kill white people…The only thing they hate me for is equality. White people fear equality. They fear every person who speaks equality because equality is a threat to privilege. That is what they are scared of me‚” Malema said.