The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) called on South Africans to defend struggle songs and support the league’s president, Julius Malema, who is scheduled to appear in court on Monday on hate-speech charges.
“All South Africans from all walks of life are called upon to come in their numbers to show support for struggle songs of the ANC, which in a manner reminiscent of apartheid, might be banned because of some unexplainable fears of some few people,” said ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu in a statement on Sunday night.
The case, brought against Malema by Afriforum for singing the struggle song with the lyrics “dubul’ ibhunu” — “shoot the boer” — on a number of occasions, begins at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday.
The court has set aside 10 days for the matter.
“All heritage activists and practitioners, artists, musicians, and those who care for the protection of South Africa’s struggle heritage and songs are called upon to reject claims that ANC songs incite violence, whilst they do not,” Floyd said.
Earlier on Sunday Afriforum said it would distribute one million pamphlets countrywide as part of their marketing campaign to garner public support against Malema’s hate speech.
“The marketing campaign includes the distribution of more than one million pamphlets to households all over South Africa, and advertisements on television, radio and various publications,” lawyer Kallie Kriel said in a statement.
This was to stop the use of inflammatory slogans and hate speech by Malema, he said.
ANC owns song
In February, Judge Colin Lamont ruled that the African National Congress and the Transvaal Agricultural Union could intervene in the case
In its application, the ANC said the party owned the song.
“The first point relates to the ownership of the song … proceedings may have the effect of … criminalising that song and this would impact on the propriety of the ANC,” said advocate Vuyani Ngalwana, acting for the party.
The second point raised by Ngalwana was the ANC’s right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in the Constitution.
“The second nature of interest rides in freedom of expression that the ANC and its members have,” Ngalwana said.
Song likened to De La Rey
Ngalwana likened it to the Afrikaner folk song De La Rey.
He argued that it would be “the zenith of absurdity” to ban De La Rey.
“It is similarly absurd for Afriforum to suggest a struggle song … should be banned because there is this ingrained belief that black people are susceptible to be incited … to rise up and kill the first white person he sees.”
Ngalwana said the ANC had a “direct and substantial interest” in the case.
The Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa’s lawyer Loubser van der Walt said the organisation represented farmers who are referred to in the song.
“We are more directly influenced by this case than just a normal Afrikaner. We have access to the best statistics about incidents that happened on farms and about the effect of the song on the farming community.”
Afriforum initially lodged a complaint in the Equality Court last year, but the case was moved to the high court due to the national interest of the case. – Sapa