Monday, April 18, 2011

Winnie calls South African Court 'illiterate'

Apr 18, 2011

The court in which ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is facing a hate speech trial is "illiterate", ANC MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela told supporters on Monday. 


                                      Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

"[ANC Secretary general Gwede Mantashe] is here to educate this illiterate court," Madikizela-Mandela said after thanking supporters for braving the cold, outside the High Court in Johannesburg. 

She said Malema was there not just as youth league leader, but as the ANC's representative

Malema thanked the crowd and said he could not speak about what was said in court as it was "used inside". He urged the crowd to remain disciplined "so we don't give enemies anything to talk about". Unlike last week, on Monday his supporters were unruly outside the court. Malema's bodyguards, some carrying guns, pushed the crowd back as they tried to get a glimpse of him, and shoved aside photographers, cameramen and journalists. 

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane were also at court. Mantashe echoed Malema's words, saying evidence still needed to be given under oath and witnesses were being cross-examined. He said the trial was not just about Malema, but about the ANC's and the country's heritage.
"All these songs played a role in the struggle," Mantashe said.

Poet Mongane Wally Serote earlier told the court what the struggle meant for him. For a young person at the time political consciousness grew when one saw dehumanisation of people. He said people were still paying the price for apartheid today.
"Alexandra as it stands is a direct legacy of apartheid."
Serote said many activists and innocent people were killed during the struggle. They army buried them in shallow graves or blew them up. Many struggle songs were composed during training, on the basis of events in the country at the time.
"It is African culture to sing," Serote said, adding that Bantu education "de-educated" people.
"We came together, understood something and sang together... you won't find a are guided by everybody."
Serote agreed with the view, expressed in court by Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom last week, that a "national dialogue" on the matter was needed.
He believed the song "awudubhule ibhunu" was not linked to any farm killings. 

Under cross-examination by Afriforum lawyer Martin Brassey, he said Malema was an ANC cadre who would abide by ANC policies because he had no choice. 

Afrikaner interest group Afriforum took Malema to court, arguing his singing a struggle song containing the lyrics "awudubhule ibhunu" or "shoot the boer" constitutes hate speech. 

Testifying in support of Malema's defence, Hanekom said the song "was not a call to violence, but a reference to a period or a system where people took up arms". 


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