Fikile Mbalula

President of the African National Congress Youth League

Fikile, the president of the African National Congress Youth League, cut his teeth in ANC politics at the age of 13.

Those around him describe him as a revolutionary impatient for change, and also a firm internationalist. After witnessing his father lose his sizeable herd of cattle because he was not allowed to take it with him when he decided to leave the farm where he worked, a young Fikile was determined to fight for a just society.

During the 1980s, he was an influential leader in the Congress of South African Students. His struggle credentials were further established when he served as an area member of the United Democratic Front. Fikile’s activism as an internationalist saw him elected vice-president and later president for two consecutive terms of the International Union of Socialist Youth, an affiliate organisation of the Socialist International that represents more than 145 countries.

After 1994, Fikile was elected to the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC Youth League, where he served as the secretary for political education. After serving as provincial secretary of the Free State, he was also elected national secretary general for two terms. In 2004, he was elected as the president of the youth league at its 22nd National Congress, thereby making him a member of both the ANC national working committee and the NEC.

Lunch Spot: Nambitha, Soweto