Court hears of Afrikaners' pain over 'shoot the boer'

The African National Congress (ANC) cannot understand the pain Afrikaners feel when they hear “dubul’ ibhunu” (shoot the boer) being sung, a lawyer for AfriForum said during closing arguments in African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema’s hate speech trial on Friday.

“White Afrikaners and white people in general will never understand the suffering those people [blacks] went through in the struggle, no matter how many times it is explained,” Greta Engelbrecht said in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, sitting as the Equality Court.

“In the same way now, the ANC does not understand what pain singing the song causes Afrikaans people.”

Engelbrecht recited the words to “dubul’ ibhunu” in Xhosa to the court and said she had studied the language for 10 years. She did not need a translation of the song to know it meant “shoot the boer”, she said.

The people to which Malema sang the song were not there during the struggle, and so did not understand what the words meant to soldiers then, Engelbrecht said. Malema first sang it to a gathering at the University of Johannesburg last year.

Commemorative and contemporary significance
AfriForum counsel Martin Brassey SC said he personally could not understand why the ANC would come to court and support Malema’s behaviour.

He said Malema had admitted the song had commemorative and contemporary significance.

“Singing of the song indicates that you should hate the boer, he’s worthy of being killed and you should hate him more,” Brassey said.

He said he agreed with friend of the court professor Koos Malan that the court should protect minorities, and that this was a pillar of democracy.

Earlier in the day Malema’s lawyer, Vincent Maleka, said AfriForum and TAU-SA were trying to “muzzle” the youth league president.

“The entire body of evidence relates to the political ideas of Mr Malema. Mr Malema is being muzzled.”

He was referring to Malema’s ideas on issues such as land reform and the nationalisation of mines. He said the claim the song intimidated people was not borne out by logic or evidence. Singing the words did not demonstrate a clear intention to be hurtful, incite violence or propagate hatred.

He said AfriForum’s case was “found upon a misconception” caused by the translation of the song, which was an “otherwise harmless art form”.

“Since this has started there has been no act of violence or attempt of violence [against farmers].”

If an order was handed down stopping Malema from singing it, it would not stop others from doing so, Maleka said.—Sapa

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