The hate speech case against African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema is just a test for the “revolution”, he told hundreds of supporters outside the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, after Afrikaner groups said struggle song lyrics threatened their national identity.
“There is no individual on trial … they are testing our revolution … they are testing methods we used to defeat them,” he told the gathering minutes after court proceedings adjourned.
“These judges are our judges, whether you like it or not, they work for the government … the government which is us, the ANC,” Malema said.
Supporters from as far as Limpopo picketed outside the South Gauteng High Court in support of Julius Malema during his battle with Afriforum for the right to sing the struggle song Dubul’ibhunu, translated as “Shoot the Boer”. A confident Malema riled up his supporters after his third day in court, chanting the controversial lyrics.
He asked the group to maintain their “militancy” and to not apologise for being radical.
“We are here to defend our history,” he said adding that the “incoming youth” should know about struggle songs.
Malema said blacks were still engaged in a struggle for economic emancipation and wanted to “own in this economy of South Africa”.
“They must share the land with us … South Africa belongs to us, black and white.”
Malema has been brought to court over lyrics from the song Ayesaba Amagwala, translated as “The cowards are scared”, containing the lyrics “Dubul’ ibhunu“, or “Kill the boer” — which Civil rights group AfriForum argues constitutes hate speech.
Malema told the crowd that singing the song did not mean they were declaring war, or going to kill whites.
“Even in our singing, we must never be confused that we are declaring war … Even at the funeral of Chris Hani, even when we are angry … marching through the white suburbs … we have never killed any white person,” he said, to cheers.
He added that former President Nelson Mandela asked “us to forgive … but yet, we have not forgotten”.
Before his talk, Malema, who was flanked by bodyguards and ANC parliamentarian Winnie Madikizela Mandela, repeatedly shouted into the microphone, “Down with Helen Zille, down” and “Down with DA, down”.
Madikizela-Mandela had been at Malema’s side since proceedings started on Monday.
Many supporters, including a young girl, carried posters depicting white children riding on the backs of black children. When the little girl was asked if she knew what this meant, her reply was “boere is bad”.
Another poster read: “We know Malema, you are going to be the next president of South Africa … we support nationalisation of mines, no one can stop you Malema, we will die for you Malema, ANC is going to rule until Jesus comes.”
Farmers’ organisation Transvaal Agricultural Union of South Africa (Tau-SA), which is supporting AfriForum in its case, brought authorities on Afrikaner culture to testify. This included dean of the law faculty at the University of Pretoria, Professor Anton Kok, and a former general in the SA National Defence Force — who had been conducting research into farm murders since 1990.
The court heard on Thursday that the concept of “kill the boer” threatened Afrikaners’ symbolic connection to South Africa.
Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge (FAK) (Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Organisations) chairperson Professor Danie Goosen said: “‘Kill the boer’ is experienced as an utterance which places the ideals of Afrikaners in a difficult space.
“The prevalent feeling [among Afrikaners] is very negative … not a single Afrikaner supports it [the utterance] within the confines that I move.
“[It is] seen as a threat to their symbolic connection to South Africa.
“This ‘kill the boer’ concept creates a problem with the respect between the majority and minority,” he said.
Goosen told the court the FAK consisted of 27 organisations and was the largest body for Afrikaners, representing about 200 000 people.
The utterances “shoot the boer” or “kill the boer” came from deep-seated insensitivity, he said.
He said the majority did not understand the problems of minority groups.
The case is being heard in the South Gauteng High Court, sitting as the Equality Court.
More witnesses were expected to be called on Friday. — Sapa