An Inconvenient Youth
Julius Malema has risen to prominence and power with meteoric speed. From impoverished origins in a Limpopo township, he has, before the age of 30, amassed the political and economic power to command the entire youth wing of the ANC, and to own several substantial luxury homes. The sources of his wealth are befogged by speculation and mystery, but his appeal to the massed ranks of the township and village poor of his country is visible for all to see. And his inflammatory style — his ‘theme song’ is ‘Shoot the Boer’ — his contrarian tendencies and his showmanship have rapidly brought him to the attention of the world. So troublesome has he become that the old guard of the ANC have gone to great lengths to shackle and reprimand him, and he is now formally in dispute with them.
An Inconvenient Youth traces Malema’s life, from his early years in Limpopo to his joining the student structures of the ANC in the early 1990s, and his rapid rise through the party’s ranks to become the president of the ANC Youth League in 2008. Forde analyses the sources of Malema’s wealth, exploring his seamless approach to business and politics. She situates Malema within the ANC’s history and shows in unprecedented detail how he has perfected the practices that characterise a new ‘struggle’ in which individuals extend their personal wealth and political power at the expense of the people. This insightful, meticulously researched account explores how a brave child has grown to become a grave inconvenience, not only to the ANC, but also, due to his style of politics, to South Africa’s fledgling democracy.