You know, I tried to let this go. And I know this story is a couple days old (wow, I’m such a new media journo – stories are “old” after a couple of hours and so a few days feels ancient!) but it’s been sitting in the back of my mind and I feel that I need to have my rant on the subject.
The story I refer to is this one, which can be summarised as follows: Steve Hofmeyr decided to include the word “kaffir” in one of his songs (incidentally dedicated to that other bastion of morality, tolerance and acceptance, former AWB leader Eugene Terre’blanche) because it’s a word that’s part of the Afrikaner heritage. His reasoning? If Julius Malema is allowed to sing Dubula Ibhunu (Shoot the Boer) then he’s allowed to use the “k”-word* in his songs.
Apart from the fact that today a judge upheld a ruling made last year – that the phrases “shoot the boer” and “kill the boer” are incitement to murder – making it illegal to sing these phrase, the complete and total petulance of Steve’s inclusion of the “k”-word in retaliation is… well, a little unbelievable.
The obvious problem is that he’s stooping to Malema’s level. The two of them together are like five-year-olds in the playground: “Well, he did it first!” screams Steve, while Malema retorts, “My daddy is more important than your daddy.”
Steve including the “k”-word in a song isn’t proving any sort of point – except reinforcing the fact that he’s likely to say the first thing that pops into his head if it’s going to a) get him publicity and therefore record sales and b) further his self-proclaimed standing as “champion of the Afrikaner”.
Yes, yes, I see how he thinks it’s making a point – if Malema and his cronies are allowed to sing racist and vengeful songs under the banner of “Well it’s a part of our struggle history”, then why can’t Steve and his bunch? As I’ve said, it’s childish – and in the long run, it achieves nothing else but to flare up old racial tensions that the majority of South Africans would rather put behind us.
We all know that Malema finds the easiest way to get (and keep) followers to play the race card in a big way – and by indulging in archaic, hateful rhetoric Steve is actually playing right into Malema’s hands. Because, really, what better poster child is there for the horrors of apartheid than a middle-aged Afrikaner calling black South Africans “kaffirs”?
Man up, Steve. Let the courts handle this one. Rather deal with Malema in a mature fashion, extending a hand in friendship and acceptance rather than cause unnecessary controversy – which you can’t deny, will help sell you records.
*If you know me, you know that I swear like a sailor. It’s not ladylike, I know. Deal with it. But there are two words even I think are totally awful and use in absolute moderation – the “k”-word and the “c”-word. Ugh.