Mandela Rhodes Scholars
Mandela Rhodes Scholars

Congrats Malema, you have made us proud

By Zukiswa Mqolomba

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the honourable Julius Malema for having graduated with his first degree in communications and African studies from the University of South Africa. Secondly, I’d like to congratulate him for being accepted for his first postgraduate degree, an honours in philosophy.

These are inspiring achievements that should be lauded and celebrated. Very few South Africans have the opportunity to study further, let alone pursue their postgraduate studies.

Malema is now a role model to high school drop-outs and unemployed or unemployable youth who might have given up on their educational goals because of poor matric results. By having gone back to school at the age of 30+, he is making education fashionable among the youth. Malema is leading by example, following the great stalwarts of the liberation movement.

He is reassuring the youth that even though you might not have performed excellently in your matric year, that does not mean you cannot pursue a higher education qualification. What his graduation confirms is that a matric pass does not necessarily reflect one’s intellectual potential and capabilities. A matric pass does not give us a true reflection of what one can and cannot do post-matric.

He is living up to his political convictions: economic freedom in our lifetime. You cannot attain economic freedom in our lifetime without a proper education. Education is the engine of economic freedom in a knowledge-based economy.

I believe that Malema is the living epitome of former and late president Nelson Mandela’s quote in the Long Walk to Freedom:

Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.

Malema is a political phoenix rising from the ashes. He was initially condemned and publically ridiculed as a school failure. They thought he was stupid and would never make it in acadaemia. Many of his critics and political detractors cannot believe that after achieving a G in woodwork, among other poor academic achievements, he is finally a graduate. Many thought he was a stupid, militant youth leader with no ability to think or reason and they cannot believe he managed to start his own political party after he was kicked out of the ANC.

They thought he was done as a politician and that his political life was over. Yet again, he made it through. He never remains down-trodden but has a resilient spirit to make it against all odds. He has just proven his critics wrong and has now made it. He is making South Africa proud.

He is a political survivor who always manages to prove his critics wrong. He is a true leader, in my opinion.

I hope other aspiring leaders will follow in his footsteps and liberate themselves through education, expanding the frontiers of knowledge production and transforming our society.

Zukiswa Mqolomba is a Mandela Rhodes Scholar, senior researcher, policy analyst and scholar activist working for government, and previously the World Bank in Washington DC. She has master’s degrees from the Universities of Cape Town and Sussex. Her ideological inclination is pan-Africanist. She believes in the African renaissance and that her generation of peers can make meaningful strides towards achieving it. She writes in her personal capacity.

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    • “Just Stop & Think”

      Great Job CIC Malema

    • wobbly1958

      Wonderful achievement. You are a genuine role model, for people who believe in education, from the cradle to the grave. Heart warming, in a time where there is so little to cheer about, in our sorry, sad, world. Thank you, Julius Malema, love from Yorkshire, England.

    • Jacobus Smuts

      Even as an afrikaans white male grewing up in the bedrock of the apartheid dispensation i cannot help to respect the man.His relentless focus on what he believes in and brutal honesty makes for a great leader in a time that it is sorely
      needed.His ability to co-operate with the DA competition,which is where i lean towards personally,reflects an ability to prioritize what is really critical.Their joint focus on removing the cancer of corruption and a completely corrupt president can be the start of a new focus on progress and co-operation in opposition politics in our country.I have learnt much from his worksession with Clem Sumter at the Cape Business Chamber and his visit to Oxford University in the UK.I will recommend everybody to work this through so we can obtain insight in the issues at the different levels of our society.

      Im looking forward to a new era with leaders of his and Maimane’s calibre.If we can work together this productively we can make this country truly great for every single individual – and it doesnt need to take a lifetime.”He who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist” as another late great leader of this country said.

      We are truly proud of you Julius Malema.You have in you the potential to become a great leader in this country.Your ability to combine vision with pragmatism is unique.

    • Roxanne

      Well written article and it’s great to see the future leaders of our country believe in education and will effect change.