Home News Anti-apartheid song no call to violence: ANC’s Malema

Anti-apartheid song no call to violence: ANC’s Malema

Published on 21/04/2011

The youth leader of South Africa's ruling party said Thursday that singing "shoot the farmer" does not incite violence, during a hate speech trial that has captivated the nation.

The trial over the anti-apartheid struggle song has ignited a national debate over how to remember South Africa’s past.

Afriforum, a lobby that sees itself as the voice of white Afrikaners, wants the song banned as hate speech in its suit against Julius Malema, the president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) youth league.

“Saying and singing are two different things. They do what I say, and not what I sing,” Malema said during cross-examination.

Malema told the court that he disputes the English translation of the song — whose Zulu chorus, “Dubula ibhulu”, means “shoot the boer”, or farmer.

“When it is translated, it does not mean the same,” said Malema, arguing that the song was a rallying cry against oppression.

“Our song is sung in Zulu and it can lose its meaning during interpretation,” said Malema.

Afriforum argues the word — which is itself derived from the word “boer” in Afrikaans, the language descended from South Africa’s Dutch colonisers — is used to single out whites.

“The word ‘boer’, in this context, is a derogatory word referring to farmers, whites and to Afrikaners in particular,” it said in an affidavit.

Live TV broadcasts of the proceedings have captivated South Africa as top ANC leaders and ministers have taken the stand to defend the song as a piece of national history, while lawyers for Afriforum have argued it constitutes hate speech and incites anti-white violence.