The war of words between South African politician Julius Malema and Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and native of South Africa, has escalated over a controversial song related to the fight against apartheid. The dispute centers around the singing of “Kill the Boer the Farmer” at a recent meeting of Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party in Soweto.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party has criticized Malema for inciting ethnic violence with this chant, referring to the Boers, who are descendants of the first European settlers in the country. Musk, born in Pretoria, took to Twitter and accused the EFF of pushing for genocide against white people in South Africa, leading to a viral message.
In response, Malema called Musk “illiterate” and suggested that his protection comes from his white skin. The EFF leader brushed off the controversy, stating that the case regarding the chant has been addressed in court, although an appeal is pending.
The quarrel comes as South Africa approaches elections, raising political tensions, and the ANC, currently headed by President Cyril Ramaphosa, faces the possibility of losing its parliamentary majority for the first time in history, potentially impacting the presidency of the country.
Controversial ‘Kill the Boer’ Song Sparks Debate in South Africa and U.S.
The chanting of the song “Kill the Boer” by Julius Malema, the leader of South Africa’s left-wing party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has ignited a backlash and triggered a heated exchange on social media. Right-wing commentators in both South Africa and the United States claim that the chant incites anti-white violence. The controversy escalated when Elon Musk, the South African-born billionaire, accused the EFF of pushing for genocide against white people in the country.
The chant, a relic from the anti-apartheid movement, has a long history in South Africa. Despite its violent-sounding lyrics, Malema and others argue that it should not be taken literally. Historians and veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle assert that the chant was used as a rallying cry against an oppressive system during the fight against apartheid.
However, the song’s context has been seized upon by some right-wing groups to fuel misinformation about mass killings of white farmers in South Africa. The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, filed charges against Malema at the United Nations Human Rights Council, claiming an escalation in farm murders linked to Malema’s rhetoric.
Malema remains defiant in response to the criticism and legal actions, emphasizing a court ruling that upheld his right to chant the song. He sees the criticism as an attempt to silence his political activism.
While the chant was previously ruled as hate speech over a decade ago, a recent court ruling found that it does not demonstrate a clear intention to harm or incite hatred. The song’s lyrics, according to Malema, address the government’s failure to address land ownership disparities between Black and white South Africans.
The dispute surrounding the song reflects deeper tensions in South Africa’s political landscape, especially as the country approaches elections, and parties vie for support from diverse constituencies.