Elon Musk has taken to what was formerly known as Twitter to slam the use of the EFF’s (Economic Freedom Fighters) anthem “Kill the Boer, kill the white farmer” on Saturday. In occasion of the tenth anniversary of the founding of the party, Julius Malema held a party rally, leading the crowd in chanting and making gun gestures.
“Kill the Boer” became a very popular song in the early 1990s as South Africa was ending its apartheid system of racial segregation. In 2012, the ANC publicly disavowed the song.
Despite racial tensions at an all-time high in the country, The New York Times published an article about the use of the song, claiming that the lyrics “Shoot to kill, kill the Boer” are “not meant to be taken literally.”
This must have been the last straw for South African-born business tycoon Elon Musk, who has spoken out about this. Despite being a naturalized Canadian, the owner of Twitter still has a connection to his motherland, and thus shared his viewpoint on the subject. According to Elon Musk, the reaction to the killings of farmers of Dutch heritage in South Africa in conjunction with the song’s use is part of the problem, and the EFF is calling for “white genocide.”
They are openly pushing for genocide of white people in South Africa. @CyrilRamaphosa, why do you say nothing?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2023
“Kill the Boers”: Who is Julius Malema?
Racial tensions and violent attacks on white South African farmers are nothing new. The ANC, which has been the leading party of South Africa since the end of apartheid under Nelson Mandela’s leadership, kicked Julius Malema out of the party in 2012. He was considered to be stoking racial tensions.
Malema founded the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) as a result, becoming the leader of the third largest South African party. Third only to the ANC and the Democratic Alliance, the EFF has garnered much support in very little time as the pan-Africanist, Marxist-Leninist party. Despite this, all other parties have condemned Saturday’s rally and have announced they will not be forming any South African coalition government with the leader in the 2024 election.
Last year, the South African Equality Court of Johannesburg ruled that the song does not constitute hate speech or incite racial hatred despite killings being on the rise since 2018. The case was brought by AfriForum, which advocates for Afrikaners, also known as Boers.
The white farmers in question are the descendants of Dutch colonizers from the time before South Africa was brought under British rule. It was a time of massive waves of immigration, including from Greece.
The court ruled that the song was protected by freedom of speech and that its lyrics—“shoot to kill, kill the Boer, kill the farmer”—are not intended to be taken literally. This is the same stance that The New York Times is taking, but Elon Musk seems to be at odds with this view, claiming that this is “openly pushing for genocide.”