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“We Are Not Scared to Die”

Julius Malema and the New Movement for African Liberation

Tiffany Thames Copeland

The charismatic Julius Malema and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have descended onto the South African political scene like superheroes, vowing to support South Africans with their radical, militant, and revolutionary stance. Their pledge to fight four evils in this world including colonialism, imperialism, racism, and sexism, has given them an allure of being saviors while striking fear in the hearts of the white monopoly capitalists and their black conspirators, labeled "sell outs."

Two social media studies on Malema’s controversial and humorous eye-opening rhetoric and his audience’s unfiltered reaction to it, during the 2019 South African general election season, are at the center of this book. Malema’s discourse is also assessed from South Africa’s historical, cultural, and socio-political environment, with special attention given to the poor black majority. The author at times draws connections between the South African and the African American experience—both of which have been severely impacted by an international system of white hegemony.  

Malema and the EFF are not only game changers for South African politics, but for the worldwide African liberation movement. The results of the research show that Malema’s fiery and witty rhetoric has firmly situated the EFF at the forefront of a new movement for African liberation. As Malema said, "The time for reconciliation is over, now is the time for justice," making those who oppose his message jittery, while simultaneously solidifying Malema as one of the most controversial political figures in South Africa and Africa, and perhaps one day, the world over.