Bono, the frontman for Irish group U2, couldn’t help himself it seems and decided to enter the debate about the struggle song “shoot the boer” which had its moment during apartheid but now has no place in South Africa no matter where or when it is sung.

In terms of the Afrikaner community the persistence and determination of Julius Malema and others to preserve its place smacks of calls for genocide.

As such they have approached the courts to have it banned.

The ANC are fighting the ban calling it part of their heritage.

Like the Nazis might consider mass murder part of their heritage?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a song calling for the murder of farmers or Afrikaners — depending on how far you wish to interpret this — has no place in a ruling party and even less when it comes to the government selected by them.

If the job of the government is inter alia to protect its citizens then they, not Afrikaner groups, should be outlawing the song.

If one’s heritage is defined as “the art, buildings, traditions, and beliefs that a society considers important to its history and culture” then special emphasis needs to be placed on the words highlighted.

It means that the society, or a group within it, selects those elements that they believe are worth retaining, promoting and represent the essence of that group.

The ANC is not the ruling party of its members, nor black South Africans, but the country as a whole.

It has selected a song that calls on people to murder other people currently under its rule as part of its heritage.

The government and the ANC — for some reason best known to themselves — cling to it as part of the struggle, which ended well over a decade ago.

As if there was a shortage of worthwhile reminders of that period in South African history.

Ignoring the truth that the new struggle — to lift the masses from poverty — is in fact compromised by this blinkered approach.

Perhaps they haven’t given much thought to what investors think about a government and ruling party, which condones songs that call for the murder of its own citizens.

That debate will become the focus of South African attention in a few months’ time.

Of course the take of Bono on the issue is of interest.

Like many of his fellow activists they speak about causes when in reality it’s really all about which way the wind blows.

He told the Sunday Times “I was a kid and I’d sing songs I remember my uncles singing … rebel songs about the early days of the Irish Republican Army” and then proceeded to sing a song whose lyrics spoke of carrying guns and readying them for action.

“We sang this and it’s fair to say it’s folk music … as this was the struggle of some people that sang it over some time.”

But the rocker went on to say such songs shouldn’t be sung in the wrong context.

“Would you want to sing that in a certain community? It’s pretty dumb,” he said.

“It’s about where and when you sing those songs. There’s a rule for that kind of music.”

In actual fact it’s f**k-off music.

It’s telling the farmers leave now before we take you out the game, which is currently a major problem in South Africa.

Farmers are being murdered on a regular basis.

Would Bono be of the view that a struggle song called “Murder the Irish” would be appropriate as long as an English right-wing party sung it among its members and not in public?

What about “Get the Catholics out of Northern Ireland” or “Northern Ireland is for the British” at children’s parties but not at rallies?

If not how would he distinguish it from his reading of “shoot the boer”?

In truth he couldn’t.

We must accept the fact that because it comes from the former liberation movement he is trying to justify it but if it had come from the side perceived by the trendies to be the baddies it would be verboten.

There is no rule governing songs like this other than in legal terms they should be banned as inciting violence.

That must be the view of the government, the ruling party and the balance of South African society.

What you sing in the bath is your own business.


  • Mike Trapido is a criminal attorney and publicist having also worked as an editor and journalist. He was born in Johannesburg and attended HA Jack and Highlands North High Schools. He married Robyn in 1984 (Mrs Traps, aka "the government") and has three sons (who all look suspiciously like her ex-boss). He was a counsellor on the JCCI for a year around 1992. His passions include Derby County, Blue Bulls, Orlando Pirates, Proteas and Springboks. He takes Valium in order to cope with Bafana Bafana's results. Practice Michael Trapido Attorney (civil and criminal) 011 022 7332 Facebook


Michael Trapido

Mike Trapido is a criminal attorney and publicist having also worked as an editor and journalist. He was born in Johannesburg and attended HA Jack and Highlands North High Schools. He married Robyn...

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