When children play in the playgrounds and use swear words, it shouldn’t have to be national news. The elders in that society simply need to reprimand them, and they would have their values reset. That is if the children are playing with harmless toys. But if they are playing dangerous political games that could harm them, or someone else, then the elders must simply take away the toys, regardless of the tantrums.
When the society is one in which the elders have discredited themselves with breathtaking wrongdoing, it is not likely that the children will heed their reprimand. They will simply point to the misdemeanors of the elders and blame them for the colossal mess they find themselves in.
And they would be technically correct – although it is not right. Two wrongs do not make a right.
Malema’s song at the playground a fortnight ago occasioned an interesting national conversation. For some it was a matter of “let the children play, they can do no harm”. For others: “They are not breaking the law. Let them sing their hearts out!”
Read more in Daily Maverick: DA to report Malema’s chant of ‘Kill the boer, kill the farmer’ to the UN
Yet for others: “They are channelling into a political programme the anger and disappointment of the masses who feel left out of the dividends of the post-‘94 democratic dispensation”. Politicians, after all, are quite enterprising in using the legitimate frustrations in society as a ticket to political power.
We require leaders who show the greatest inclination towards serving all our people, not killing any of them.
For all these reasons and possibly more, it is still just to blow the whistle on this targeting of the boer and the farmer.
Because they are South Africans and have the right to feel at home here and not feel threatened with murder, especially from those who wield political leadership in a democratic South Africa. We simply must demand higher standards of accountability from our leaders.
The year 2022 closed with a damning report from the Zondo State Capture Commission. A report that flagged the issue of the lack of accountability in our political culture. As we prepare for the 2024 elections, the South African electorate will be desperately looking for signs of accountability and an orientation to serve all the people of this republic. We require leaders who show the greatest inclination towards serving all our people, not killing any of them.
That the song happens to be a struggle song does not put it above moral reproach, even if it does get clearance from the courts. The courts are no substitute for conscience. We are all too aware that many connected individuals, politicians and the well-to-do can escape accountability legally. The former president is a case in point.
The song was, in any case, a war cry in an era in which it was understandable to kill one’s perceived enemy in the process of war. The Constitution is our ceasefire document, and enjoins us to build a nonracial society.
But the youth love war games, even though many of them have never really seen war. They love the militant-sounding lyrics and the sound of gunfire. But one day, they may just find themselves being the president of the country. The entire project of struggle was, after all, precisely to make any South African a legitimate contender for high office. At that point they will find that the song subtracts from and does not add value.
At that moment they will wish to stop it, but it will be difficult.
Such was the case with the previous generation of activists, who started a culture of boycotting the payment of services, only to find that once they were in government, the culture was too deep to reverse.
Malema knows the challenges the country faces, but presenting the elimination of the farmer and the boer as their panacea, is simply leading his followers after a dangerous mirage. He might think he is singing the song in jest, and not meaning to harm anyone. The only problem with this thinking is that the boers and farmers are being violently killed.
It is no singing matter. DM