Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr said on Wednesday that illiteracy was to blame for the recent defacement of historical statues, particularly that of Paul Kruger.
“The call by the EFF and others to remove this statue is misguided and ill-informed,” he told supporters gathered at the foot of Kruger’s statue.
“I think illiteracy has everything to do with it.”
He ended his address by singing Die Stem, with his supporters joining in. A small group of opposition activists performed a rendition of Nkosi Sikekel’ iAfrika in response.
There was a guard of honour for the singer at 1pm.
He was flanked by men in military uniform from the controversial Commando Corps.
Hofmeyr made his address in English to cater to the supporters and for those opposing his views to understand.
“We have no consensual South African history. It does not exist. But if you think you can remedy that by deflowering the heritage of others, you have some more thinking to do,” he said.
“If we believe you can fix disunity by defacing the history of others, what you believe is misguided.
‘Cry for help’
“The cry for the removal of some South African citizens’ heritage is nothing more than a cry for help, because whose shining legacy are we going to replace it with?”
He said even former president Nelson Mandela’s legacy was looking “increasingly unsightly”.
“He was not only a leader and a great man, he was a conciliatory one.”
The statue of Kruger and two bronze sentries in Pretoria was defaced with green paint on Monday.
The Freedom Front Plus laid charges against the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) after the latter admitted to being behind the defacing of the statue.
Afrikaans singer Sunette Bridges told cheering supporters that EFF leader Julius Malema was a criminal for encouraging the vandalism of statues in the country.
“If I told my followers to deface Nelson Mandela’s statues and there was as much as a spot of paint on them, I would have been in prison,” Bridges said on Wednesday.
Bridges was heckled by some of the observers that were not participating in the protest, but she seemed unfazed.
“I have permission to be here and you don’t. So you keep quiet or get your own gathering somewhere else,” she said to the cheers of her following. – News24.com