ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu has defended Julius Malema’s lusty renditions of the infamous “kill the boers, they are rapists” song, arguing (according to this Sapa article) that the “the lyrics of the song had been quoted out of context”.

“This song was sung for many years even before Malema was born. Julius doesn’t even know who’s the writer of the song. He got it from us [the ANC]. You must blame the ANC, don’t blame Julius. But when you blame the ANC, then contextualise it,” Sapa quotes Mthembu as saying.

By Mthembu’s logic, it is completely acceptable inciting people to kill others, provided there is “context”. What does that mean? Well, so as long as “kill the blacks” was an old apartheid song, embittered racists can chant it from the rooftops. So long as “kill the women” was some sort of misogynist anthem, chauvinists can do the Macarena to it in male-only clubs. So long as “kill the gays” was a major hit for bigots as they set lesbians alight, they can scream it as they throw the gays off bridges and into manholes.

That’s the logic behind ANC’s defence of Julius Malema’s call to kill. But it is, most likely, an unintended logic. Because one gets the sense from Mthembu’s inelegant explanation behind Malema’s behaviour that singing “kill the boers” is acceptable simply because of the group it is targeting. In the ANC’s eyes, this, surely, is a way of putting a “vanquished” people in their place, reinforcing the ANC’s Africanist political hegemony, reminding white Afrikaners — yes, after all, that is what the word “boer” is a term for — that they are “guests” staying in this country at the almighty ANC’s behest, and that their livelihoods, and indeed lives, are at the mercy of the ANC.

The ANC equates the black majority with its own political majority. It equates the Afrikaans minority with a political minority, a minority that is supposedly stubborn, resistant to change and unwilling to accept the political majority’s power. This is a dangerous, unfortunate perspective because it negates the nuances of political thought and tramples on the concepts of individual freedom, liberty and expression. It forgoes any notion of equality and inclusiveness.

The Afrikaners are South Africans and Africans. They are equals and deserve to be treated as such. Provided our Constitution and laws are respected, they are as entitled to live in whichever way they want to, to say and do whatever they want — as any other South African, of any culture, race or creed, should be able to do.

By supporting Malema’s calls for the demise of the Afrikaners, as implied in “kill the boers”, the ANC shows contempt for this concept of equality and individual liberty — and for our Constitution which guarantees this. Why? Because the ANC believes that minorities (whether racial, political or intellectual) require subordination and domination. This impulse shares the very same roots as the heinous National Party’s urge to dominate and subordinate groupings it considered “other” and inferior. But that’s no surprise — whatever its claims to contrary, the ANC has shown again and again that it is cut of the same cloth as the National Party — like its predecessor in power it is racially nationalistic, adhering to the politics of domination and exclusion.

Malema’s recent pronouncements — and the ANC’s sprightly defence of them — are no exception.


  • Alexander Matthews is the editor of AERODROME, an online magazine about words and people featuring interviews, original poetry, book reviews and extracts. He is also a freelance writer, covering travel, culture, life and design. The contributing editor for Business Day WANTED, his journalism has also appeared in House and Leisure, MONOCLE, African Decisions and elsewhere. Contact Alexander here: alexgmatthews(at)


Alexander Matthews

Alexander Matthews is the editor of AERODROME, an online magazine about words and people featuring interviews, original poetry, book reviews and extracts. He is also...

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