When Julius Malema came onto the national political stage it was in an unsavory context. It was about 2007, when he supported the embattled and controversial Jacob Zuma who was facing corruption and rape charges and recovering from the public shame of being removed from the executive.

Malema flourished in this environment partly because Thabo Mbeki had cast Zuma into a political wilderness to be comforted by people such as Zwelinzima Vavi and Blade Nzimande, who were nursing wounds inflicted by president Thabo Mbeki. This alliance of the wounded formed a formidable attack, Vavi representing workers, Nzimande the SACP, and Malema the ANC Youth League (ANCYL). ..

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