Rock singer Bono has said that the ANC anthem “Kill the Boer,” which has been banned as hate speech in South Africa, is ok to sing – under the right circumstances.
“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,” the U2 frontman told South Africa’s Sunday Times.
“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,” he said, after singing an old Irish song whose lyrics spoke of carrying guns and readying them for action.
However, Bono added that singing the song could only be acceptable, given the right perspective and circumstances.
“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.”
The song was revived in 2009 by ANCYL Julius Malema, who sang it at several demonstrations directed at White groups in the country. Despite insistences from the ruling ANC Party that “Kill the Boer” is a legitimate part of their historical battle against Apartheid, a South African High Court banned the song as hate speech in March 2010 because it directs violence against a particular ethnic group, the White-Afrikaner-Boer.
Tensions surrounding the debate over the song have been blamed by some in playing a role in inciting the murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche in April 2010. The two Black farmer workers accused of the murder claim they are innocent.
Bono, whose next concert in South Africa is scheduled for February 18 in Cape Town, was part of the Artists United Against Apartheid movement in the late 1980s. That group raised more than US$1 million by releasing a record calling for artists to not perform in the resort town of Sun City.