The scientific explanation is that any party that has got the support of the young ones, takes over in the next 10 to five years, says Malema
It’s difficult to nail down the EFF’s Makoti Khawula; she is happy to be followed on the campaign trail but she is constantly on the move.
It is at a technical and vocational education and training college in KwaMashu – where she grew up – that City Press finally catches up with her.
“Ngiyaxolisa mntanam uyazibonela nawe ukuthi kubi kwaEFF,” (Sorry for the run-around, my child, we are busy at EFF), she says in-between stopping a number of times to grant requests for selfies.
A small group of students and some supporters who heard she was in the area have gathered at the entrance of the college to hear mam Khawula speak.
“Ilwelwe imfundo yamahala ilwelwe (Fight for free education fight),” she shouts. The group responds, “Ilwelwe.”
“Lwelwa amarights akho walelwe.” The group responds, “Walwelwe.”
“Izwe.” The group responds, “Elethu.”
“Umhlaba?” The group responds, “Owethu.”
“Izindlu ? The group responds, “Ezethu.”
“Amasela? The group responds, “Awahambe.”
Student support in KwaZulu-Natal has been crucial to the growth of the EFF, starting with what was a historic win at the University of Zululand.
In 2014 the newcomers got only 2% of the vote in the province, coming in at fifth place behind the ANC, DA, Inkatha Freedom Party and National Freedom Party.
So sluggish was the formation of structures in the province that the national leadership of the EFF opted to disband the existing leadership structures and strengthen the province with national leaders to give the party a fighting chance.
“We can’t take all the young people to Parliament and leave people like Mam Khawula to manage the big monies at a local level and deal with things she has not studied. We want accountants, town planners, engineers. The time to be led by people who are not educated is over.
"It is painful that some of you do in fact graduate and then do not find jobs and end up turning to drugs. This is why as the EFF we are saying that you must vote for us so we can bring an end to tenders which enrich only the few,” Khawula tells the group in isiZulu.
“The current government does not care for the dignity of black people, we live like animals. No one cares that black people should have a good quality of life that we enjoy.”
Moments after the address she is swarmed by requests for her to visit troubled areas or intervene in disputes between government and residents.
“Uyazizwa ke izinkinga?” (Do you hear all of these problems), she says turning to me even as she writes down the names, numbers and brief description of the grievances in a black diary.
Five days later the EFF leader himself Julius Malema begins a road show in the province beginning in Esikhawini.
After addressing students at Umfolozi College, he tells City Press that the party is shocked by the growth it has experienced in the province.
An internal poll of the DA from earlier this year had the EFF performing at about 15% in KwaZulu-Natal.
“That is too low, we are going to do more than that. In KwaZulu-Natal we are actually shocked ourselves because the type of support we are receiving in the province is overwhelming and we didn’t expect this type of support so we are doing well and we are going to get more than that.
"We have grown and now exist in areas we never did before.
"At the centre of that growth is young people; it is the students who are very energetic. Those are the people who will be working on the ground,” Malema says, his voice hoarse, about to disappear.
While students seem to love the EFF, this support does not always translate to votes.
“Ours is a generational mission, we move from one generation to the other. We are more than happy that we have the youth, we have the students.
“The scientific explanation is that any party that has got the support of the young ones, takes over in the next 10 to five years. So, these people when they graduate here, they are going into communities, they will be the ones who are going to educate communities.”
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