Being discharged as the African National Congress’ (ANC) youth leader has not stopped Julius Malema from gracing platforms on what has been dubbed the Marikana / Lonmin Tragedy. According to Mail & Guardian and News 24, Malema blamed the government for the “massacre”.

He is also said to be assembling a legal team to help free 200 arrested miners. It is a tragedy that people’s lives have been lost. I do not in anyway condone the violence and deaths. However, I am ‘intrigued’, to say the least by the (seeming) support the miners have for Julius Malema as he steps in as one of them.

There are leadership lessons from Julius Malema’s involvement in the aforementioned. (Note: I DO NOT support Malema and or his statements, I am only making observations about leadership)

leadership lessons from malema in lonmin tragedy
leadership lessons from malema in lonmin tragedy


Leadership ceases when the leadership and follower chasm is created. I am not suggesting there cannot be distinction between the two, but that once a leader says lauds it over the people that he is the leader his credibility takes a knock.

Malema has ‘identified’ with the miners. You cannot effectively lead people you do not identify with. The presence of, “we’re in this together” in word or deed can be strong glue in a team.


In his book, Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us, Seth Godin says that people need and seek leadership. From all the reports I have read on the Lonmin tragedy there has not been one leader that has been quoted. (Perhaps it is bad reporting or I’m reading the wrong papers).

Malema shows up and voila! The miners have a “face”. The point? People need leadership and when they become aware of this respond to the first sign of leadership. Besides the “leader tittle” are you really leading?


People respond to bold statements and vision. They will pursue something that is greater than them. Leaders must not just make bold statements but compliment them with bold action.

Those you lead will respond to bold actions because they do not like not knowing where you stand. Leader, having a clear stance that some may not like is better than being unclear on where you stand.


You cannot be an effective leader without communication. Though not many like it, Malema communicates. He says whatever is on his mind and has no one wondering what he is thinking.

To be effective in your role as a leader, your communication must be priority. Communicate with those you lead.

Communicate with those whom your movement or cause implicates. Communicate to win those that are not part of your cause. Communicate to anyone that will listen.

Communicate to those that do not want to listen to you till they cannot ignore you. Communicate, communicate and communicate!

illustration by royblumenthal | cc 

I really would love to hear on thoughts? Leave a comment!

Published by Blessing Mpofu

just a guy changing the world

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