Of the current crop of politicians in South Africa today, there are not many more passionate people than Julius Malema, the former President of the African National Congress Youth League who now serves as the president and Commander-in-Chief of his own political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The 41 year old politician and activist, who has been a Member of Parliament since 2014, has accomplished quite a lot so far despite his relatively young age. Opinions are, however, divided about him as some notable South African leaders like Jacob Zuma have hailed him as a future leader of the country while others have tagged him as someone capable of sparking racial conflict in South Africa due to his recklessness.
Julius Malema Was Raised By A Single Parent
Julius Malema was born in Seshego, Transvaal Province of South Africa, which is now known as Limpopo. There is no mention of who Julius’ father is, and in an interview he granted, he mentioned that he grew up without the knowledge of who his biological father was. We do know that he was raised by his mother, who was a domestic worker, and later by his grandmother after the tragic loss of his mother due to ill health.
There have been cases of people coming up to claim that they were Julius’ father but there is no proof that they are indeed who they say they were. Although he grew up without any notable father figure in his life, Julius Malema has managed to navigate through the storms of life with so much boldness. He turned out to be the outspoken young man we all know today.
Malema seems to be an only child as there is no mention of his siblings anywhere in his records.
He Tailored His Studies To Boost His Political Career
Not much is known about Julius Malema’s primary education, but what we do know is that he attended Mohlakaneng High School in Limpopo. It was not such a smooth ride through high school for Julius as he had a tough time keeping up his grades although he still managed to complete his studies.
Upon his graduation from high school, he was able to complete a 2-year diploma in Youth Development at the University of South Africa in 2010. The following year, he returned to the same university to study Communications and African Languages. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2016 before again obtaining a BA (Honours) in Philosophy in 2017.
Looking at the various degrees he acquired, it is obvious that Julius Malema deliberately chose all those courses to suit and enhance his interest in politics and activism. On one occasion, he was quoted to have said that studying for his BA in Philosophy was a difficult challenge and he found himself having to choose between the program and politics. He also had to change a lot of things in his life to accommodate his academic pursuits.
Julius Malema Has Been In Activism and Politics Since Age 9
Julius Malema is known to have shown interest in activism and politics from quite an early age. He joined the Masupatsela (“young pioneers”) group of the African National Congress when he was just about 9 years old. Some sources have it that his main duty then was to remove national party posters. In 1994, when he was about 14 years old, he joined the ANC Youth League where he rapidly assumed leadership positions at both local and regional levels.
While still being a student, Julius was actively involved in politics, engaging in leadership roles, attending meetings, and a host of other political activities. He no doubt had his plate full and this, in turn, became evident in his academics as he struggled with maintaining a balance. It was reported that he scored relatively low grades in his final school examinations and when the results were published online, the ANC was reported to have claimed the results were fake.
The 41 Year Old Has Accomplished Quite A Lot So Far
Considering how he started his political career at quite an early age and compared to the fact that he is currently just 41 years old, we could say that Julius Malema has achieved so much on his way to becoming the most vocal and outspoken politician in South Africa.
Along the way, however, and perhaps due to his relatively young age, Malema has never been too far away from controversy. In 2009, while gathering support for the then-presidential candidate, Jacob Zuma, Malema was cited to have made controversial statements like “we are prepared to take up arms and kill for Zuma”. This statement gave him a lot of negative attention from the media as well as the general public and especially his political opponents. Sticking to character, the politician did not show any remorse for his actions which subsequently landed him in more trouble.
Below are some of the achievements of the two-time ANC Youth League President.
- Chairman of the Youth League branch in Seshego in 1995
- Chairman of the Congress of South African Students (Limpopo Province) in 1997
- National President of COSAS in 2001
- In 2008, he was elected President of the ANC Youth league
- In 2011, he was re-elected unopposed for a second term as President of the ANC Youth League.
- In 2011, he was listed on Forbes’ “10 Youngest Power Men in Africa”.
- Launched his very own political party in 2013
- After the general elections in 2014, he was sworn in as a member of parliament as his party further won 25 seats in the National Assembly.
Julius Malema Is Happily Married
While we may not know much about Malema’s father; who he is, if he is alive, and whether the politician has any siblings, we do know that he is happily married to his longtime girlfriend, Mantwa Matlala.
The couple exchanged wedding vows in December 2014 in a private ceremony held in his hometown of Seshego in Polokwane. Their union has since been blessed with 2 children, although Malema has an older child from a previous relationship.