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Thu Dec 18 12:30:37 SAST 2014

Bono in a tangle over 'Boer' song

CHARL DU PLESSIS | 14 February, 2011 00:310 Comments
SMILEY'S PEOPLE: Thousands of fans pack FNB stadium in Johannesburg for last night's U2 concert Picture: ALON SKUY

An apparent reference by outspoken U2 frontman, Bono, to the ANC struggle song Shoot the Boer has caused outrage, with Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr claiming to have thrown his concert tickets into the Jukskei River.

This came after the Sunday Times reported that the Irish rocker was aware of the furore over the singing of the song and compared it to rebel songs about the Irish Republican Army.

"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.

"But would you want to sing that in a certain community? It's pretty dumb," Bono reportedly said.

He also cautioned that there was a time and a place for those types of songs, that there was "a rule for that kind of music".

The story sparked a flurry of commentary on radio stations and social networking sites, with many U2 fans claiming the comments had been taken out of context.

But Hofmeyr, writing in Afrikaans on his official Facebook fan page yesterday, said he "just chucked his two, R2500 U2 tickets into the Jukskei [River]".

"Bono is trying to lick the asses of the ANC by attempting to validate hate speech struggle songs by comparing them to Ireland's songs.

"The difference Bono? Your songs are in a safe context while ours are not. You live in peace in Dublin while our boere are exterminated like flies. The Irish songs are cold nostalgia - ours are warm blood," wrote Hofmeyr.

The singing of the Shoot the Boer song by ANC Youth League president Julius Malema at a public gathering last year is being challenged in the Constitutional Court by lobby group AfriForum, which claims that it incites violence against farmers and constitutes hate speech.

Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, yesterday said the organisation "welcomed" Bono's comments.

But Dirk Hermann, deputy director-general of trade union Solidarity, whose uncle was murdered in a farm murder last week, said he was "nauseated".

He "dared" Bono to still call the song a folk song if his "uncle or brother or father was murdered in such a cruel manner on a farm".

Floyd Shivambu, spokesman for the ANC Youth League, was not available for comment last night.

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