Africans need to come together if they want to reclaim the economy, the land and the resources on the continent, EFF leader Julius Malema said on Thursday.
Speaking at an Africa Day celebration concert, Malema told hundreds gathered at Joubert Park in central Johannesburg that South Africans were selective in their xenophobia and only targeted their fellow African brothers and sisters.
He called for an end to xenophobia, saying the only way African people
“We must continue to celebrate those who embrace fellow Africans [and] isolate those who call people ‘makwerekwere’ (derogatory word used to describe foreigners).
“We must isolate those who are perpetuating the division of the African continent because without the unity of Africa we will never defeat the devil called Capitalism,” Malema said.
He asked the crowd why they treated white foreign nationals differently to black ones.
“Why do you love white people so much yet you hate your own African brothers? When you chase foreigners, you never chase white people, you never chase Indians or Chinese people.”
The reason for this was because Africans suffered from what he called self-hatred.
“It’s because you don’t love yourself, it’s because you think everything black is cheap, it’s because you think everything African must be killed.
“You are a puppet of white supremacy, you are a slave of white masters who have planted a seed of self-hate among our people,” Malema said.
He then urged the crowd, made up of people from various parts of the continent including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe that they should love themselves.
He sent a special message to South Africans, calling for tolerance.
“These people who are here in South Africa… didn’t come here because of their own choice. They’ve got problems at home, in the same way we were in their countries when we had problems here in South Africa.
“We must return the favour, it’s our culture ‘motho ke motho, kabatho (a person is a person through others)’ so if you do not embrace Ubuntu then you are not an African.”
He said it was un-African to turn away a visitor, whether they had been invited or not, saying white people living on the continent were also uninvited visitors.
“It’s in our culture to embrace visitors because that’s what makes us good people. That’s why we welcome white people. Even when we know this is not their home. This is not their home, they know that but we welcome them,” Malema said.
It was therefore important that they behave like visitors and not try to “take over the continent” and respect Africans by seeing them as equals, he said.
“It is important that we continue to remind them that they came here uninvited but we welcomed them and will make their stay the most enjoyable stay, as long as they respect Africans.
“As long as they don’t see Africans as their workers, as sub-human, as things to be disregarded when it comes to the economy. They must see Africans as equal partners, if not the majority shareholders of African economy because this economy of Africa belongs to the people of Africa.”
Although they welcomed foreign investment and the business brought to the continent through multi-national companies, they could only conduct their business on the terms of indigenous Africans, he said.
Since political power had already been attained, Africans were now struggling with the fight for economic power, Malema said. However, Africans needed to come together if they wanted to succeed in reclaiming it.
“How can we say our country is rich with mineral resources, yet the indigenous people of this continent are the poorest of the poor.
“We must reclaim our mineral resources, we must reclaim our national resources, we must reclaim our land, our mountains, our oceans, everything that comes with the land of Africa belongs to us, we must reclaim it. But we will never get it for as long as we are not united.”