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By Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

Football Journalist

EFF’s Malema and Niehaus ignite race debate over lack of white support for Bafana

'We cannot see two white people ... and with other sports we must all be there. It is so unfortunate,' said Malema.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) president Julius Malema and member Carl Niehaus were left disappointed with the lack of support from white South Africans at Bafana Bafana’s arrival back from the Caf Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in the Ivory Coast.

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Bafana arrived back in Johannesburg on Wednesday, after winning the bronze medal at the AFCON.

They were met by scores of people at OR Tambo International Airport, many of whom were EFF supporters, including EFF president Julius Malema.

Malema contrasted the lack of white people present to welcome Bafana with other sports, clearly referencing the welcome the Springboks received late last year after winning the Rugby World Cup.

“We must be stronger together, all sporting codes must not be selective and racialised, wherein the whole country comes to see Bafana.

“We cannot see two white people … and with other sports we must all be there. It is so unfortunate. But nevertheless we must continue to love ourselves, and not love ourselves depending on the love of others towards us”

Niehaus, who was among the EFF members to welcome the team back home, says it was disappointing to see the lack of of white people at the airport.


He said directly that this was different from when the Springboks arrived after winning the Rugby World Cup in France last year.

“I am deeply disappointed, actually disgusted, with white South Africans,” Niehaus wrote on his official X account (formerly Twitter).

“When the Springbok rugby team did well, and won the Rugby World Cup, black South Africans embraced them so warmly, and in their thousands turned out to celebrate the Springboks’ victory. Now that #BafanaBafana, our National soccer team, did so well and won Bronze at #AFCON, white South Africans are GLARINGLY ABSENT in celebrating their success, and embracing our nationhood.”

“This morning when Bafana Bafana were welcomed as they arrived back home at OR Tambo International Airport, white South Africans were NOWHERE TO BE SEEN in welcoming our national team.”

Niehaus, who is a former African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson, added that the majority of white South Africans must make up their mind about being part of the nation.

“As far I could see I was the only South African – who happens to be white – there to join my fellow @EFFSouthAfrica Fighters, and fellow black South Africans, to celebrate Bafana Bafana’s success, and how they made our nation proud,” he continued.

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“Honestly, white South Africans must now really make up their minds, if they want to be part of our nation. Currently the message from the majority of whites is that they do not want to be part of our nation. They must understand that such myopic, arrogant and selfcentered, conduct will have serious consequences for their future in our country. Some very serious introspection is required by white people!”

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