Apr 18, 2011
Embattled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema kept his cool throughout his interview with BBC journalist Stephen Sackur.
BBC journalist Stephen Sackur
Sackur was interviewing the youth leader on his current affairs show, Hard Talk, which was aired yesterday afternoon.
Malema, who is currently in court after Afriforum opened a hate-speech case following his singing of struggle song Dubul 'ibhunu, answered Sackur's questions calmly, in contrast to when he referred to a BBC journalist as a "bloody agent".
Asked if he understood why white farmers felt threatened by the song, Malema said: "No, there is nobody who is threatened there, they are just seeking attention."
Malema said he and South Africa's youth should be allowed to continue singing the struggle song, and that nobody should "suppress" the ANC Youth League in its expression of the pain it felt during the struggle.
"This is a process of healing. We shouldn't suppress our feelings. We should not suppress the pain we have gone through.
"We are engaged in a struggle to reconcile, and that reconciliation does not mean suppress or forget."
Malema dismissed some questions in a quirky fashion. When he was asked if South Africans had overcome the past, given that they still sang the song, he said: "We are overcoming the past; it is not a 21st birthday here, it is not an event, it is not an occasion, it is a process."
Sackur then asked Malema if he handled his "anger" well, after he referred indirectly to DA leader Hellen Zille as "an ugly woman in a blue dress dancing like a monkey". He asked the youth leader how he felt after he "upset" many South Africans with his comments.
Malema responded: "You don't know monkey jive? Do you know monkey jive? If I see some ugly woman in an ugly blue dress jiving monkey jive, I could not say that looks like a monkey jive? It is a monkey jive.
"I upset many South Africans. How many South Africans did I upset? There has never been anybody who came to me with anger."
On the economy, Malema told Sackur that South Africa had failed to deal with the 70% unemployment of the youth.
Malema reiterated his call for the nationalisation of mines and expropriation of land. He said the government should claim ownership of the country's wealth, which he said was predominantly owned by "white males".
Sackur then shifted his focus to Malema's rise and his wealth, and said Malema was a "black South African success story".
"No. I'm nowhere close to the ownership of the wealth of this country," Malema retorted
When Sackur asked Malema if he were not wealthy, including owning two houses in leafy suburbs, and luxury cars, and enjoying a good life, he said: "What is your definition of wealth? I have got a serious respect for you. I have seen you do interviews with very powerful respected leaders of the world.
"You know there is a house here in Sandton which is fashionable that I own. I don't own it, it is owned by Absa.
"A Mercedes-Benz C63: I don't own that car, it is financed by the bank. If I am out of this job, I will be back in the township living with my grandmother because I have not finished paying for that house.
"If that is your definition of wealthy, then we have a different interpretation of wealth."
Concluding the interview, Sackur asked why the youth league, after calling for the nationalisation of mines and banks, called for "wholesale nationalisation".
"No, there will be sectors in the economy which will not be nationalised. When you speak mining and the banks, mining is a sector, banks is another sector, there are also other sectors in the economy. So wholesale nationalisation would mean everything else including spaza shops," said Malema.