File photo: Elmond Jiyane
File photo: Elmond Jiyane

Call for removal of Die Stem from national anthem draws mixed reactions

By Khanyisile Ngcobo Time of article published Aug 22, 2019

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Johannesburg - A day after the South Gauteng High Court ruled that the gratuitous display of the old South African flag constituted hate speech, social media users are divided over emerging calls for Die Stem to also be removed from the national anthem.

On Wednesday, Judge Phineas Mojapelo ruled that the display of the apartheid flag does harm and should be considered as hate speech, unfair discrimination and harassment. 

Mojapelo said no good could come from gratuitously displaying the old flag and those who do so and not display the new democratic flag, choose oppression over liberating symbols. He said those who display also aim to insult and express feelings of white supremacy. 

The old South African flag has often been seen as a symbol of hate and bloodshed and its display has often provoked strong opinions from the public. 

Wednesday's ruling drew widespread praise, with calls emerging for Die Stem to follow suit. Particularly ardent on the matter was the EFF, which said both the flag and Die Stem both symbolised white supremacy.

This call drew mixed reactions on social media, with most twitters agreeing with the EFF's call while most Facebook users disagreed with this call. In a poll run by IOL on Twitter, 72% of users said it must be removed, with some users saying all symbols of apartheid ought to be removed.

See some reactions to IOL's Twitter poll below: 

Everything that reminds us of apartheid must be removed from our native land including afrikaners and all whites

— Thabiso. 👑 (@ThabisooT_) August 21, 2019

It is time to remove the stem from the national anthem .

— Shayne Welman (@SHAYNEWELMAN) August 21, 2019

It should have been gone already... let it go to the dust bin of history

— joe mangena (@joemangena) August 21, 2019

Please remove "Die Stem". An Anthem should unite it's citizens with Pride. South Africa Nothing to be proud of now. 25 years of @MYANC backward rule.

— Janneman (@Buzzjan) August 21, 2019

On Facebook meanwhile, 64% of users said it should not be removed, with many users praising South Africa's anthem as "beautiful" and diverse.

Here are some reactions to IOL's Facebook poll:

Gawa Martin - Ahjum wrote: "I love the whole anthem, afrikaans included"

Debbie Steenkamp wrote: "Listen to the words. Understand the meaning of the anthem. I believe it must remain."

Lili Phillips wrote: "I love our anthem. I sing it with pride. Not many anthem's are quite as diverse as ours. Do not change it. Ever!!!!"

Marilyn Jayapalan wrote: "Everything about us whether it's good or bad makes us who we are. We cannot erase our past. It's that same past that made us stronger as a country and brought about our rainbow nation"

Phillip Jay wrote: "I love our national anthem. Don't even think of changing any part of it... If you don't like Die Stem then shut your mouth when that part comes. Easy."

Louise Barnard wrote: "That would be discriminatory to the afrikaans people tho. The flag is a yes tho. I would not mind if I never saw it again and it saddens me when I see it displayed."


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