Julius Malema, the former leader of the Youth League of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), shocked Zimbabwean revellers enjoying an afternoon barbecue at a sports club in London on Sunday by turning up unannounced.
The firebrand, who was recently expelled from the ANC for his radical views and attacks on President Jacob Zuma, is in London to meet investors.
He was expected to speak at a networking event last night.
Malema’s arrival at the Rollers Club — a summer barbecue spot for southern African expatriates held at the Chingford Rugby Club — surprised many.
Revellers temporarily abandoned their meat and whipped out their phones to get pictures taken with the 31-year-old champion of nationalisation of mines and land reform in South Africa.
Malema, who is in London with the Youth League’s former spokesman Floyd Shivambu, was later joined by friend Zayne “Mahoota” Sibika of the legendary kwaito group, Trompies. Mahoota, who now performs solo as a club DJ, had just concluded his two-gig UK tour.
Marshall Gore, the Rollers Club organiser, busied himself trying to offer his famous guest the full VIP treatment. Gore later posted a picture of himself with Malema on Facebook, telling friends: “We clicked from the word go.”
Malema told the BBC Focus on Africa TV programme that the agenda of his trip to London was to explain “our economic struggle which seeks to redistribute the wealth of the country into the hands of the people”.
He added: “Most investors have misinterpreted that, not only investors, but our fellow African brothers who are here in Britain.”
Together with Shivambu and members of a new organisation called Friends of the ANC Youth League, he said they had been “doing a lot of work behind closed doors” to explain the policies he advocated.