News Brief

Malema Says Winnie Mandela Wanted Him to be President

Mama Winnie and Julius Malema had a great mother-son relationship.

The commander in chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, says the late apartheid struggle hero Winnie Madikizela-Mandela wanted him to be the president of South Africa.

"Her wishes may not be realized through occupation of office of the president, but that which she wanted me to do as president can still be done even if I am not the president. That is to fight for her people," Malema told the Sunday Times in an exclusive interview with the newspaper.


In the interview, Malema talks about the mother-son relationship him and Madikizela-Mandela had.

He talks about how their relationship started, how he reacted when she got the news that Mama Winnie was no more.

So strong was their relationship that Mama Winnie gave him her approval when Malema left the ANC to start his own party, the EFF, with Floyd Shivambu.

"Much, much later," Malema, who admits he avoided Mama Winnie after forming the EFF, told the paper, "I went to explain to Mama. She said: 'Well, you've got my blessings. As long as these two streams [the ANC and EFF] will at some point meet.'

"She believed that these are two streams flowing in the same direction and that at some point they will converge."

Malema also revealed that Mama Winnie was never against the EFF's disruption of parliament. "She never said what we were doing to Zuma was wrong, she wanted Zuma to resign. But she refused to do public statements," Malema said. Mama was also not pleased when the EFF joined forces to oust the ANC as the leading party of the City of Johannesburg. Malema says Mama Winnie shouted at him, saying, "You want to stay in a metro that's led by DA, by an opposition? What are you doing?"

Malema gave one of the most heartfelt addresses during Mama Winnie's memorial service two weeks ago. In case you've been living under a rock, you can watch the speech that ruffled a lot of feathers, below, and read Malema's full interview with the Sunday Times here.

Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

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