'Struggle songs are part of our history'

THE controversy surrounding the singing of racially divisive struggle songs continued at the National Union of Metal Workers of SA Bargaining Conference yesterday when delegates sang a struggle-era song in memory of fellow members who recently died.

The song, Hamba kahle Mkhonto, (Go well Mkhonto weSizwe) contains words like "Thina bantu bomkhonto sizimisele ukuwabulala wona lamabhunu" (We, MK members, are determined to kill these boers).

Delegates attending the conference at Vincent Mabuyakhulu Conference Centre in Newtown, Johannesburg, yesterday sang the song as a sign of respect and in recognition of the role played by the deceased.

Leading delegates in song, Numsa president Cedric Gina said: "The singing of the song in memory of fallen members was not a desire to kill farmers.

"Struggle songs are part of our history and heritage. Revolutionary songs continue to play an important role on the many ongoing class struggles waged by workers at the point of production and broader struggles of communities.

"Therefore, courts cannot be used to erase our memories and demobilise our revolutionary activism by banning struggle songs."

This week, the ANC said it would appeal the decision by the Johannesburg high court to outlaw the singing of the song Ayesab' amagwala" (Cowards are scared).

ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the ruling party had instructed its lawyers to appeal the high court decision at the Constitutional Court this week.