'Don't let chickens and cowards sell Africa'

The ANC Youth League received strong support from its African allies for its radical economic reform policies on the second day of its national congress in Midrand’s Gallagher Estate on Saturday.

Leaders of youth organisations from several African countries voiced support for the league, particularly on its position on land restitution and the nationalisation of mines.

Ahead of the upcoming ANC Youth League elections, M&G deputy editor-in-chief Rapule Tabane looks back at the last elections and tells us what we can expect this time around.

Deputy secretary-general of the Pan African Youth Union (PYU), Tendai Wenyika, set the tone with a fiery address, speaking out against ‘imperialism” and ‘neo-colonialism”.

The PYU is an African Union organ. Wenyika is also a leader of Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF Youth.

Wenyika’s speech re-energised the congress delegates who rose to their feet to applaud her position on African youth.

However, a small group aligned to Gauteng youth league chairperson Lebogang Maile protested their disapproval when Wenyika appeared to endorse Julius Malema ahead of the’ nomination and election of the youth league’s top five officials, which was set to take place later in the day.

‘This congress comes at a time when imperialism has raised its ugly head again,” she told delegates.
Young people should not allow Africa to be sold out ‘for the love of sugar”, she added, to thunderous applause.

She blamed the continent’s leaders for allowing France to assist Côte d’Ivoire president Alassane Ouattara in claiming the country’s presidency from former president Laurent Gbagbo.

‘In Ivory Coast [Côte d’Ivoire], imperialism was allowed to reign, by our African heads of state,” said Wenyika.

Both Ouattara and Gbagbo claimed victory after last year’s election, but Ouattara was widely recognised by the African and international community as the victor, on the basis of reports by EU election monitors.

Wenyika’s views were in line with Malema’s statements on Thursday that African leaders, in particular South Africa, embraced a ‘puppet of the French” and sent a government delegation to his inauguration.

Wenyika advised congress delegates to choose leaders properly: ‘Let us not allow chickens and cowards to reign, who are going to sell Africa.”

Namibia’s Elijah Ngururi of Swapo Youth supported the ANC and its youth wing’s call for a media tribunal.

‘We should listen to the media that we are in charge of,” Ngururi added.

He also congratulated the ANC Youth League for ‘articulating” the need for economic freedom in the country, saying the league under Malema had been vocal on behalf of all young people.

Ludwig Hlordze, the youth leader for Ghana’s National Democratic Congress, said young people were faced with a new form of a struggle, the economic freedom that the youth league is fighting for.

‘We’re behind you, Julius’
‘The history of Africa cannot be written without the ANC Youth League. Julius, Africa will continue to support you to make sure that the mineral resources of our continent remain here,” said Hlordze.

His views were shared by the leader of the Zanu-PF Youth, Kudzani Chipanga.

‘Political independence without mineral resources is hollow and useless,” said Chipanga.

Ghana’s Hlordze said it was about time Africa developed its own systems to mine and refine its mineral resources.

The continent’s youth leaders showered Malema with gifts, with Ghana presenting an Arch, a symbol to mark the country’s independence.

Ghana became the first African country to attain independence in 1957 under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah and has been widely hailed as a good example of an African democracy.

The ANC Youth League congress continues until Sunday in Midrand outside Johannesburg

For the latest on the ANC Youth League conference click here:

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge

Mmanaledi Mataboge is the Mail & Guardian's political editor. Raised in a rural village, she later studied journalism in a township where she fell in love with the medium of radio. This former radio presenter and producer previously worked as a senior politics reporter for the Mail & Guardian, and writes on politics, government, and anything that gives the disadvantaged, poor, and the oppressed a voice.
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    Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award.
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