Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) national communications manager Sixo Gcilishe has defended delegates who kneeled before party leader Julius Malema over the weekend.
In a Twitter thread on Monday, Gcilishe said the kneeling and bowing were “a sign of thanksgiving, appreciation.”
She wrote, “Bowing to him is a sign of thanksgiving, appreciation and because we are at [a] loss for words, we bow. Not worshipping but bow[ing] because we are grateful and appreciative.”
‘Bowing should not be condemned’
Gcilishe added, “The bowing should not be condemned because no one knows what got those Fighters to that level of appreciation and perhaps there is another deeper communication carried in their action.”
A video of the incident, which happened just after Malema finished his lengthy political report at the party’s 2nd National People’s Assembly on Saturday, sparked debate on social media.
Some commentators felt it showed that the EFF is a “cult,” something Malema strongly disputed in a media briefing.
He also addressed the NPA and castigated those who knelt before him, insisting that they should never “personalise the revolution.”
‘Don’t kneel before me’
He said, “Like those people who came here singing and kneeling down here in front of me and officials and then the papers write that Malema is a cult, people are kneeling before him as if I asked you to kneel before me.
“I never asked you to kneel before me. Don’t kneel before me, I don’t like that. The EFF is not my kitchen, I’m going to leave this organisation especially this position, one day.”
However, Gcilishe suggested that even Malema himself may not realise how much the delegates are appreciative of what the EFF has done for them.
“You don’t know what the EFF has done for us. And frankly the EFF and its leadership does not seem to be aware either,” she wrote.
As an example, she said the EFF paid for her medical bills when she suffered a stroke in August this year.
Gcilishe said, “Guard against speaking on matters you know nothing about. And stop trying to control people and their feelings and how they choose to express themselves.”