Malema at an election rally in Johannesburg, May 2019
Philimon Bulawayo / REUTERS

Julius Malema, the enfant terrible of South African politics, vows that his enemies have nowhere to hide. Racist white farmers, corrupt politicians, the rich and the powerful—all are targets in his new television commercial as he leads his radical far-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) into South Africa’s May 8th general elections. Malema has sharpened his attention-getting tactics during a decade in national politics and now hopes to capitalize on growing public anger over the slow pace of economic and social change since the end of apartheid.

His strategy is to siphon enough votes from the ruling African National Congress to act as a kingmaker in several important battlegrounds. If he succeeds, a country known for pragmatic reconciliation will have taken a worrying turn toward divisive populism. Malema’s party has already pushed the ANC, which has governed since the end of apartheid, to adopt more radical positions. Concerned

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