Ayesaba Amagwala, which contains the lyrics “dubul’ ibhunu” — or “shoot the boer” — is not a song but a chant, music expert Dr Anne-Marie Gray told the Equality Court on Wednesday.
“This is not a song, this is a chant, and a chant is much more threatening … to people who don’t understand it,” Gray told the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, sitting as the Equality Court.
She said a song did not contain repetition or gestures that made people feel uncomfortable.
A chant also creates a “trance-like” scene, which “sweeps you off your feet”, she said. “It makes you want to almost do something.”
Gray said she had never before heard the “song” sung in this manner.
It was only in recent years that she had heard it sung by African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema, she said.
“The first time I ever heard it was on the [television],” she said.
‘The revolution is on trial’
Malema said on Tuesday that it was not him, but the “revolution” that was on trial for hate speech.
“It is not me who is on trial. The revolution is on trial,” Malema said through a megaphone to hundreds of supporters pressed against the locked gates of court.
His supporters chanted and sang outside the court. Some carried placards reading “ANCYL ROCK”, “Dubula song belongs to South Africa” and “No one can ever erase our history”.
Malema was seated next to ANC Women’s League veteran and MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who arrived at court late.
Civil rights group AfriForum is contesting the singing of the lyrics in the hope they will be declared hate speech.
Malema has refused to apologise or withdraw the comments, despite a meeting with AfriForum.
Its deputy president, Ernst Roets, spent Tuesday explaining to the court that it believed the lyrics caused hostility in South Africa.
Malema said he would continue to defend the history and legacy of the song. — Sapa