Malema’s ‘Makula’ word upsets Indians
By Hassan isilow
The Indian community has reacted angrily towards ANC Youth League President Julius Malema after he referred to them as ‘Makula’, a term loosely translated to mean ‘‘coolies’’.
Amichand Rajbansi, leader of the Minority Front Party blamed Malema for trying to inflame racial hatred in the country.
‘‘Its sad Malema used the derogatory word against the peaceful Indian community’’ Rajbansi, said Thursday evening.
Malema reportedly referred to Indians living in Lenasia as ‘‘Makula’’ on Wednesday as he addressed residents of Thembelihle informal settlement, south of Johannesburg.
The Business Day newspaper quoted Malema as saying “Bana ba lena ba tshwanetše ba dumelelwe gore ba tsene sekolo le bana ba makula mona [your children must be allowed to go to school with coolie children],”
Rajbansi offered to invite Malema for a lunch at his home in KZN were he would teach him that Indians are good people who love tolerance
Malema’s statement created mixed reaction on social networking sites. Ibrahim Shaik wrote on Face book claiming the youth leader made the statement in the most arrogant, forceful and inflammatory context.
‘‘I spoke to a number of my black colleagues today who all don’t know another word in their language for ‘makula’ many of them said they only realized at university that it may be offensive and some didn’t even know it was. I don’t think there was any malice intended in the statement. More positively, I am pleased to hear Julius Malema telling the residents to live ‘together with the Indians across the road.’’Zeenat Dadabhay wrote on the Channel Islam International face book page.
Meanwhile, Naeem Dawood said he thinks it would have been fair for the controversial youth leader to refer to the Indians as ‘Amandiya’ other than ‘Makula’.
However, Ponty Moletsane, a radio producer in Johannesburg says for people in townships referring to Indians as ‘Makula’ is not derogatory, but thinks the media blew the statement out of proportion.
‘ ‘ The ANCYL will therefore not use the word ‘makula’ to refer to South Africans of Indian origin because we appreciate and acknowledge that it is not an appropriate word’’ said Floyd Shivambu the Youth League spokesman.