An outspoken South African opposition figure unleashed a firestorm of comments on social media on Tuesday, demanding his country to leave the Commonwealth. His statements come in response to a major African tour the British government is currently undertaking.
Economic Freedom Fighters’ president Julius Malema engaged in a firestorm of words on Tuesday, just at the kick-off of British prime minister Theresa May’s three-day African tour.
The British government spearheaded the visit to three countries-South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya-as part of its post-Brexit strategy, along with a 29-strong business delegation.
However, Malema proposed that his nation develop its own “Brexit” strategy, calling Prime Minister May a “colonizer” demanding South African to “pull out of the [Commonwealth].”
He continued his tirade on national liberation by attacking the traditional powdered wigs used in South African courts because they resembled “that of a white man”.
“Does it mean that you can only think when you wear the hair that resembles that of a white man?
Malema segued into potentially “liberating” solutions, including adopting a continent-wide official language. The South African government has already adopted 11 official languages.
“We must develop a common language that can be used throughout the continent,” he demanded. “Like Swahili, if it can be developed as the language of the continent.”
Malema’s EFF party is the third-largest in South Africa’s parliament, following the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA).
Malema’s bombastic rhetoric comes after ANC parliamentarians withdrew a 2016 land reform bill in order to amend the constitution so that the government could expropriate land without compensation. Prime Minister May told reporters that Britain would support the land reform program if implemented in accordance to international law.
“The UK has for some time now supported land reform. Land reform that is legal, that is transparent, that is generated through a democratic process,” May said. “It’s an issue that I raised and discussed with President Ramaphosa when he was in London earlier this year.”
The Commonwealth of Nations is a 53-member bloc of post-colonial sovereign states and was founded in 1931. The Commonwealth’s head is Queen Elizabeth II and the organisation last convened in London and Windsor from April 16 to 20 this year.