Mmusi Maimane is the Federal Leader of South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA). He also is the Parliamentary Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly of South Africa. He was formerly the DA’s Deputy Federal Chairperson, the DA National Spokesperson and the Leader of the DA Caucus in the City of Johannesburg Municipal Council.
Mmusi grew up in Soweto outside Johannesburg and lived there most of his life. Through sacrifice, hard work, and a desire to use every opportunity afforded to him, he has been building an impressive career in business and has dedicated himself to community work in various ways.
Mmusi worked as a business consultant and trainer with a number of firms in South Africa and internationally. He also lectures at the GIBS Business Institute, University of Pretoria. In addition, he is a philanthropist and chairs a number of NGO boards. The foundations he is involved with are primarily focused on HIV/AIDS and rural and youth development.
Mmusi has quickly established himself as a strong leader in the DA. He holds a Master’s Degree in Theology, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and speaks seven South African languages fluently.
Mmusi Maimane Full Biography and Profile
Mmusi Aloysias Maimane was born in Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp on 6 June 1980. His mother, Ethel Maimane, in a pharmaceutical company and was originally from Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape. His father, Simon Maimane, was born in Soweto and worked in a local lock factory. Maimane now lives in the suburbs of Randpark Ridge with his wife Natalie, daughter Kgalaletso (2) and baby son Kgosi. He once described his marriage as “what might have been called under apartheid a ‘mixed marriage'”, when he invited model Jessica Leandra, caught up in a racist Twitter storm, to engage with her accuser at his home.
“I would be happy to host you both at my home. I am proud to say that it is a place of love and tolerance, a place where people leave their prejudice at the door,” he said before the meeting was held at his house in May 2012.
Indeed Maimane is being cast in the role of a uniting figure, with a campaign for Gauteng with not-so-subtle overtones of the inspiring “Yes we can” viral campaign that swept Barack Obama to power in the United States in 2008.
The role of race
By joining the DA, he has provoked some supporters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) — the party that led the struggle against white-minority rule. ANC lawmaker Lindiwe Sisulu once called him a “hired native” – an explosive term she was forced to withdraw. Maimane’s parents still live in Soweto and used to belong to the ANC, though he says they now support his choice of party.
His glitzy campaign appeared closely modelled on US President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential race, complete with a similar blue poster and the slogan “Believe”.
He launched his campaign under the hashtag #BelieveGP following the announcement, and the term trended in South Africa on Twitter. A poster for his campaign showed Maimane in a thoughtful pose beneath the slogan “Believe GP”, followed by the phrase: “We can win”.
In his speech he said he was once an ANC supporter. “I used to believe that the party of liberation deserved my vote because of what it did to make our country free.
“I still think that the ANC deserves the highest praise for leading the liberation struggle. And it deserves credit for reversing some of the worst aspects of apartheid, through programmes of social grants, land reform and Black Economic Empowerment,” he said in a conciliatory tone not often heard from the DA.
He added: “But I no longer believe that the ANC deserves my vote. The ANC under Jacob Zuma has let us down,” he said, before going on to list the ruling party’s failures.
Before entering politics, Mmusi lectured at the Gordon Institute of Business Science and managed his own consultancy firm which, according to the DA, consulted for a number of large South African companies on diversity management, change management and generational differences. He also chaired a number of foundations involved in rural youth development and HIV management.
He was criticised by some in 2011 as an inexperienced candidate for mayor of Johannesburg. Nevertheless, the DA still credit him with growing support for the party in that election from about 20% to 35%.
That election was his first entry into politics, after which he became the DA’s caucus leader in Johannesburg and later in 2011 the party’s national spokesperson. November 2012 saw him add the position of deputy federal chairperson to his cap.
Quick Facts About Mmusi Maimane
- Maimane was born in Dobsonville, Soweto, on June 6 1980.
- He is the oldest of four children
- He loves hanging out at a chesa nyama!
- He is a preacher at Discovery Church in Randburg, but he said he was most likely to reconsider preaching after his election as DA leader.
- He gets along well with Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema
- He stays at Acacia Park in Cape Town
- He supports the Lions Rugby Team and Kaizer Chiefs
- He quoted two iconic authors Nadine Gordimer and Maya Angelou in his acceptance speech.
Maimane speaks six languages – English, Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Setswana, Sephedi.
In the runup to the 2014 national elections, Maimane appeared in a political advert titled “Ayisafani” which was subsequently banned by the SABC for “inciting violence”. The DA challenged the ruling and the advert was reinstated.
- Mmusi Maimane Biography and Profile