/ 18 April 2011

Winnie: ‘Mantashe will educate this illiterate court’

Winnie: 'mantashe Will Educate This Illiterate Court'

The court in which African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema is facing a hate speech trial is “illiterate”, ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told supporters on Monday.

“[ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe] is here to educate this illiterate court,” Madikizela-Mandela said, after thanking supporters for braving the cold, outside the South Gauteng High Court, in Johannesburg.

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.

She said Malema was there not just as youth league leader, but as the ANC’s representative.

Malema thanked the crowd and said he could not speak about what was said in court as it was “used inside”. He urged the crowd to remain disciplined “so we don’t give enemies anything to talk about”.

Crowd control
Unlike last week, on Monday his supporters were unruly outside the court. Malema’s bodyguards, some carrying guns, pushed the crowd back as they tried to get a glimpse of him, and shoved aside photographers, cameramen and journalists.

Mantashe and Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane were also at court. Mantashe echoed Malema’s words, saying evidence still needed to be given under oath and witnesses were being cross-examined. He said the trial was not just about Malema, but about the ANC’s and the country’s heritage.

“All these songs played a role in the struggle,” Mantashe said.

Poet Mongane Wally Serote earlier told the court what the struggle meant for him. For a young person at the time, political consciousness grew when one saw the dehumanisation of people. He said people were still paying the price for apartheid today.

“Alexandra, as it stands, is a direct legacy of apartheid.”

Serote said many activists and innocent people were killed during the struggle. The army buried them in shallow graves or blew them up, he said, and many struggle songs were composed on the basis of events in the country at the time.

“It is African culture to sing,” Serote said, adding that Bantu education “de-educated” people.

In this together
“We came together, understood something and sang together … you won’t find a [single] composer … you are guided by everybody.”

Serote agreed with the view, expressed in court by Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom last week, that a “national dialogue” on the matter was needed.

He believed the song “awudubhule ibhunu” was not linked to any farm killings.

Under cross-examination by AfriForum lawyer Martin Brassey, he said Malema was an ANC cadre who would abide by ANC policies because he had no choice.

AfriForum is arguing that Malema’s singing of struggle songs containing the lyrics dubul’ ibhunu, or “kill the boer” constitutes hate speech.

Testifying in support of Malema’s defence, Hanekom said the song “was not a call to violence, but a reference to a period or a system where people took up arms”.

The trial, in its second week, continues on Tuesday. — Sapa