Boesak criticises hate speech judgment
FOR better or worse, the controversial Dubul’ iBhunu (Shoot the Boer) song has become part of the country’s history. Banning the song, which was deeply embedded in the Struggle, is not helpful.
This was the view of cleric Allan Boesak, delivering the Steve Biko memorial lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban yesterday.
Commenting on Johannesburg Equality Court Judge Colin Lamont’s decision to ban the song, which he labelled hate speech, Boesak said the word “boer” in the song referred to the apartheid police and not white farmers.
“That is the reference the judge completely missed, and which white people are now totally twisting… I could think of a number of things out of Afrikaner history that I still find hugely offensive… the easy way in which racist talk is coming back in white communities. Are you going to make cases against all those people? Maybe you should. No charge has been laid against (singer) Steve Hofmeyr for using the ‘k’ word in such a deliberate fashion,” he said.
Earlier this year, Hofmeyr cemented his role as defender of Afrikaner pride by posting the racially charged lyrics of his song Ons Sal Oorleef, meaning “we will survive”, on his Facebook page. The song praised murdered AWB leader Eugène Terre’Blanché and called blacks k******.
The lyrics read: “My heart beats like a tapping beetle as it breaks for my volk/ Before the khaki cannon or the k*****’* dagger/ It no longer matters where we go/ We will survive.”
Hofmeyr said removing the k-word from the song was conditional on the verdict of the Julius Malema-AfriForum hate-speech court case, where Judge Lamont made his decision. If Malema lost the case, he would change the word k***** to “kryger”, which means warrior.
Boesak said that as a believer in non-violence, he had not enjoyed his people singing the song. “I always thought that that was not the kind of lyrics I would like our young people to grow up with. But… you cannot ban the reality. And in that sense, I hope the ANC’s appeal to the Constitutional Court (against the judgment) will be successful. It’s not about Malema. It is about asking if you can really get to the point where you think that through a court order, you can put a blank on people’s minds about an experience that had such immense implications for their lives when the Struggle was on, and for the lives of their children, of which Julius Malema is one,” said.
While he was against the song being banned, he did not believe that it still had a place in today’s society because the apartheid struggle no longer existed. “But you cannot protect the Steve Hofmeyrs, who want to continue to have their freedom to use offensive language against black people, and then not be consistent.
“As long as this happens, it means Malema is right that white people are selective about the things they get angry about and want to use the constitution to undermine black people,” Boesak said. - The Mercury