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Julius Malema

Julius Malema - An unlikely leader

Julius Malema 41%

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June, as if one needed reminding, is the coldest month. It has also come to be associated with anything and everything to do with the youth, June 16 being Youth Day, a holiday, to commemorate the day in 1976 on which young people rose up against apartheid. The insurrection soon took on a life of its own, spreading throughout the country, including small towns and villages.

 

Figures of authority became fair game. Teachers and councillors, seen as functionaries of an illegitimate system, were forced to resign, and consumer boycotts ruthlessly enforced. The children had run out of patience. The event turned SA politics on its head. Parents lost the respect of their children. The genie has never gone back into the bottle.

 

Though the exiled ANC were quick to take credit for the uprising, they, like the authorities, were caught completely off guard.

 

Government responded with more brute force. Steve Biko died in detention a year later, on September 12 1977; and 19 organisations, including newspapers, were banned on Black Wednesday, October 19 1977. Scores of young people were i. jail or exile. Government had lost its head.

 

By Barney Mthombothi: Editor of Financial Mail.

 

Read more: LEADER.co.za (20 JUNE 2011)


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