Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has seemingly reached the end of his tether with his childhood friend-turned-foe African National Congress (ANC) MP Boy Mamabolo.
On Tuesday, the political opponents faced off against one another for the second time in a week at the National Assembly, with Mamabolo reiterating the accusation he made at last week’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) that Malema beats his wife, Mantwa.
‘Catch me outside’
There was a notably uncomfortable tension between the two, not least of all when former EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi jeered Mamabolo’s white tuxedo and bow tie, telling him “This isn’t My Perfect Wedding” in reference to the popular television programme.
The gag sparked giggling at the ANC MP’s expense (including from his own party benches), and he appeared notably embarrassed before launching into his accusation.
“Speaker, we’ve been abused for too long, we cannot be abused in the same manner that Mantwa [Malema’s wife] is being abused by honourable Malema… nna le lelena re dithaka (we are peers), let’s leave elderly people and go engage outside,” he said.
Boy Mamabolo and Julius Malema: From friends to foes
This is by no means the first time the pair have faced off with one another, with a long feud having developed since Malema and Mamabolo were children playing in the dusty streets of Seshego in Polokwane.
They grew up in a part of the township’s Zone 1 called Masakaneng, and their lives have remained intertwined ever since, although frequent controversy has marred their relationship.
Twitter users have quickly dubbed the feud the “Seshego Derby”, fishing for titbits of scandal between the two. The truth is, we probably don’t know the half of it.
Mamabolo and Malema both served in the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and the ANC Youth League in their youth, with Mamabolo serving as Cosas’ provincial secretary in the early 2000s, when Malema was its president.
It was during their tenure at the ANC Youth League that things got seriously hairy between the old friends.
Malema was suspended as president of the ANC Youth League in 2011 and Mamabolo burnt a mock coffin in spiteful celebration of his removal from office.
Mamabolo pressing Juju’s buttons
During the early days of the EFF in 2013, Malema received a text message from his old comrade, but it was clear that things had already soured.
The SMS read: “This time I want to show you that I am more brutal and exhume Mahlodi [Malema’s mother] from the grave and lay her in front of [your grandmother’s house]. You have done many bad things to me.”
Mamaloba admitted sending the text message, saying he was provoked by Malema. He said that he had initially messaged Malema about buying cabbages, which he was producing on his Limpopo farm at the time.
Malema spoke of the incident at his grandmother Koko Sarah’s funeral in 2018, saying that the threat was the final straw for him and the ANC and certainly the nail in the coffin of his friendship with Mamabolo.
“He said that to me, the ANC said that to me,” he said. “I will never go back to the ANC.”
This incident came shortly after Mamabolo accused Malema of enlisting the services of someone who could sleep with his girlfriend at the time.
It has also been suggested on social media that Mamabolo harboured romantic interest in Mantwa Malema before she began dating the EFF commander-in-chief.