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Johannesburg - Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and his ANC counterparts formed a united front on Thursday, vowing not to ever again sing derogatory Struggle songs against whites.
On Thursday night, Malema confirmed to The Star that he was party to an out-of-court settlement between the ANC and AfriForum which forced both parties to mutually recognise and respect each other.
The ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein on Thursday came after AFriForum successfully obtained an order in the Johannesburg High Court against Malema in September last year which barred him from singing the Struggle song Dubul’ibhunu (Kill the Boer) in public and private functions.
In delivering his judgment, Judge Colin Lamont ruled that the singing of the song constituted hate speech.
Malema then challenged the matter in the SCA in which he argued that the judgment had the potential to stifle ANC’s Struggle and cultural heritage.
The application was due to be heard in the appeal court on Thursday but Malema, ANC and AfriForum agreed on the out-of-court settlement instead of undertaking lengthy court processes which could have run into millions of rands.
The parties agreed that: “In the interests of promoting reconciliation and to avoid community friction, and recognising that the lyrics of certain songs are often inspired by circumstances of a particular historical period of Struggle which in certain circumstances may no longer be applicable, the ANC and Malema commit to counselling and encouraging their respective leadership and supporters to act with restraint to avoid the experience of such hurt.”
Malema confirmed the contents of the mediation agreement. “I was part of the mediation process. Yes, I am party to it (agreement) and I will continue to practise my culture and my heritage and I will continue to be sensitive to the needs of other communities,” Malema said on Thursday.
He said the settlement was in line with what he and the ANC Youth League had been advocating all along.
“If you go to the tapes of the court hearing and check what we are signing for today, there is no difference. We said that there is no need to ban the song, the need is education. We need to educate our people about our culture in relation to our struggle. But also we need to educate our people of being sensitive so that they do not offend other people or communities,” Malema vowed.
The ANC concurred with Malema. “There are many songs we have that we have remixed… like the one we sing at cemeteries [Hamba Kahle Mkhonto]. Anything that may refer to the killing of people [in Dubul’ ibunu] we might replace. It would not be the first time we do this; we’ve done it with some of our songs. That’s our contribution to building a united South Africa,” said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
He said their efforts of changing the mindset of its members began long time ago. He said some MK songs and lyrics vowing to kill white people had been changed, including Hamba Kahle Mkhonto from “We as soldiers of uMkhonto weSizwe are prepared to kill the boers” to “We as the soldiers of uMkhonto weSizwe we are prepared to reconcile with the boers”.
Equally excited was Kallie Kriel of AfriForum who vowed that his party would also ensure that the majority of the Afrikaner community refrains from any acts which could lead to the polarisation of the South African communities.
Kriel said the deal was in the best interest of all the parties and would make people refrain from hurtful utterances and racist statements.