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“Kill the Boer”: History or hate speech?

March 30, 2010

SAFRICA-ELECTIONSThe African National Congress has defended the singing of an apartheid-era song with the words “Kill the Farmer, Kill the Boer”, saying it is no incitement to violence but a way of ensuring a history of oppression is not forgotten.

That does little to assuage the concerns of the white minority, however, in a country branded the “Rainbow Nation” after the relatively peaceful end to apartheid 16 years ago and the government’s message of “unity in diversity”.

The singing of the song by the ANC’s firebrand youth leader Julius Malema recently has strained race relations. Afrikaner farmers feel particular offence, pointing out that 3,000 white farmers have been killed since the first democratic elections in 1994.

A regional high court ruled last week that the song amounted to hate speech.

The concerns of minorities were further fuelled by fact that students at two of South Africa’s top universities enthusiastically joined in singing the song with Malema. ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said he had sung the song at rugby matches.

Malema articulates the anger of many in the black majority at the relative prosperity of most whites and their influence over the economy while millions of black South Africans are marginalised and live in poverty.

South Africa prides itself on having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and entrenches free speech which was barred under apartheid. But it also depends on harmony between its various groups.

Is this storm over nothing more than keeping alive a historic song and the memories of the struggle against apartheid or is it a more dangerous sign?

Picture: Julius Malema, president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) Youth League, campaigns before April 2009 elections. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Whilst remembering the atrocities’ of the past is important (to acknowledge those that have suffered and to ensure it does not happen again), it is equally important to ensure that injustices do not occur as a result of rash utterances and behaviour. Words such as “kill” used in propaganda slogans or songs do not serve humanity. What benefits could there be in the use of such slogans or songs? The song is history and it is best to leave it in history, as it was a means to vent and to provoke at a time when those atrocities were being committed. Times have changed. A more constructive way to build a nation would be to speak of the current situations and injustices; develop resources and schemes in addition to gearing people to obtaining solutions for them. Negativity serves not mankind.

Posted by rednevog | Report as abusive

Since the ANC has taken power why do they still have so much poverity in their cities.Another thing why do they kill the white Africanna farmers when they grow food for them.when the terrious blacks slaugher the white farmers and take their land,DO THEY REALLY GROW THE CROPS?IT takes much work to farm land?

Posted by rosa3019 | Report as abusive

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