The courts should not rewrite our history - NUMSA

Union calls on AfriForum and FF+ to expose brutality meted on farm workers by racist farmers


12 September 2011

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) notes the judgment handed-over at the South Gauteng Court by Judge Collin Lamont declaring the struggle song ‘Dubula iBhunu' constitutes hate speech.

The judgment comes exactly as we observe the 34th anniversary of the brutal murder of Steve Bantu Biko by the apartheid regime. Biko's death remains a black spot on the dastardly murders committed against our people by the apartheid regime. It was out of these brutal conditions that songs were composed or recited in public gatherings to register our displeasure at the system and all it represented.

The struggle songs are part of who we are and where we come from as a country that was at war with itself as a result of colonialism of a special type and apartheid system.

We will study the merits and demerits of the judgment very carefully with the intention of making an informed and comprehensive response. We reserve the right to pursue both political and legal approach to secure justice in this matter.

We are firmly of the view that organs of class rule, the Courts, should not be used to re-write our history of struggles and liberation against the repressive regime.  There are no blank pages in history, struggles songs are our collective memory!

We believe that there is deep hatred and irritations in some sections of our society towards ANCYL President Julius Malema, and the song Dubula iBhunu should not be confused with that. People should contest the ideological outlook or posture of the ANCYL President and leave our struggle songs alone. Our struggle did not end in 1994, the struggle continues and our biggest enemy is Capitalism. Therefore these songs continue to inspire the working class and the poor on their daily struggles against the barbaric and evil system of Capitalism.

The songs like ‘Uthi sixolele kanjani, amaBhunu abulala uChris Hani', ‘uMshin Wam', ‘Ilenja uBotha, kanye nalenja uMalan', are part of the collective memory of our struggle, part of the collective culture of that struggle, and they continue to play an important mobilisational tool role in the ongoing worker and community struggles. Those who are opposed to the song should be reminded of the profound statement by the late President of the ANC Cde Oliver Tambo ‘a country that forgets its history is doomed to repeat it'.

As NUMSA, we call on AfriForum, Freedom Front Plus and other like-minded disgruntled organisations not to re-write our history and run to the Courts to ban our struggle song Dubula iBhunu. The focus and debate should becentred on the strategic role AfriForum and Freedom Front Plus can play in exposing the brutality that continues to meted on farm workers and dwellers by the racist farmers in the rural countryside.

Statement issued by Castro Ngobese, NUMSA national spokesperson, September 12 2011

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