Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and member of the South African parliament, said his compatriots should move toward withdrawing from the Commonwealth following a visit by Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May.
‘‘The commonwealth is presided over by the colonizer and we reject that. That type of respect that we give to the colonizer is the one that perpetuates white supremacy,’’ Malema declared.
The Commonwealth of Nations is an association of 53 member states that include most of Britain’s former colonies.
Malema emphasized that Africans should work together to free the continent from the relics of colonialism, stressing that small steps should be made before embarking on larger ambitions.
In that vein, he singled out Swahili as a suitable linguistic replacement for English, the working language for all Commonwealth countries.
During an official visit to South Africa as part of her three-day tour of Africa, May pledged US$5.1 billion of investment in the continent to “strengthen (Britain’s) global partnerships’’ as part of the U.K.’s post-Brexit goal.
“This week I am looking forward to discussing how we can do that alongside Africa to help deliver important investment and jobs as well as continue to work together to maintain stability and security…True partnerships are not about one party doing unto another, but states, governments, businesses and individuals working together in a responsible way to achieve common goals,” May said.
According to official data from 2017, white South African farmers, most of whom are the descendants of British and Dutch settler families, account for just 8.4 percent of the country’s population but own roughly 73 percent of the land. Black landowners, despite apartheid officially coming to an end in 1994, account for just 1.2 percent.