ANC comes to Malema's defence
ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe yesterday termed the negative attention aimed at ANC Youth League president Julius Malema as "Malemaphobia".
Mantashe, who yesterday took the witness stand in defence of the right to sing Dubula ibhunu and to explain its meaning, said he had identified a problem that showed anything involving Malema attracted unnecessarily negative attention.
Mantashe, under cross-examination from AfriForum counsel Martin Brassey, also warned that any attempt to tamper with liberation history would be like tampering with the feelings of millions of people.
Brassey put it to him that AfriForum and its clients were angered by Malema's continued singing of Dubula ibhunubecause the song was deemed "militant and aggressive".
Brassey said: "Because of his (Malema) standing and the fact that he seems to be a person of power, AfriForum members viewed the song as being highly instructive."
Mantashe retorted, explaining that anti-apartheid fighters understood that boer, or ibhunu, referred to the oppressive apartheid system and not individuals.
Legal counsel for the Transvaal Agricultural Union of SA, which is the second complainant, Roelof du Plessis, dismissed the ANC's claimed ownership of the song and theassertion that it was part of its heritage as "false".
Du Plessis produced documents allegedly proving that the song belonged to the PAC. He said he would use this "fact" as a basis to convince the court to declare the song hate speech.
Mantashe rejected Du Plessis' claim, arguing that liberation songs were shared by many liberation movements. "We didn't get copyrights for liberation songs. We shared them. Any liberation movement would take a song and add their own lyrics to it."
Acclaimed poet and ANC activist Wally Serote urged people to allow Malema to act like a youth.
"A stalwart of the ANC once told me that the youth have a right to say 'I will bang my head against the window pane'," he said.
"We (the adults) must warn them and tell them they will scratch their heads if they do so, so that next time we can say, 'we told you so'. Malema has a right to act like a youth and bang his head against (the window pane)."