The boer is dead (#uniteZA)

Following the murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche on Saturday, plenty of good pieces discussing the relationship (or lack thereof) between the murder and Julius Malema’s constant singing of that charming folk-ditty “Kill the boer”. And while government officials on the scene were quick to insist that the murder had nothing to do with Malema’s singing of that song – that it was instead motivated by unpaid wages and general frustration towards a man who had a history of not treating his farm workers too well – we should also be wary of believing that simply because it’s a more comfortable explanation, and one which results in less worry for South Africa’s immediate future.

Because even if the workers were aggrieved at unpaid wages, or poor working conditions, it may still be the case that those frustrations were encouraged to reach boiling point via the “endorsement” for the the murder that they perceived Malema to be offering. It’s an easy answer to blame Malema, and it’s an easy answer to think he has no responsibility in this case.

And as usual, the easy answers are probably incomplete answers. As many others have argued, it’s a time for calm and sober reflection. As with the #speakZA campaign a couple of weeks ago, bloggers in SA have been rallying for calm, and for SA to not let the death of this horrible little man cause any unnecessary friction. Under the banner of #uniteZA, feel free to join by tweeting and/or blogging the message below:

South Africa stands at a crossroads – a time in which racial tensions run high and the world is focused on us. Neither the people of South Africa nor the country itself can afford to have negativity and irrational outbursts rule our daily lives.

To that end, UniteSA is an attempt to bring people from all corners of our nation together in a call for peace, calm and rational thought.

Various ministers have called for restraint as has President Zuma – certain organisations have chosen to use this time to push a political agenda and we appeal to them to allow the authorities the chance they need to resolve the issues.

We urge the people of South Africa to express faith in the police force and the justice system at this time.
We call upon the ANC to rein in Julius Malema appropriately and urge him to behave responsibly.
We call upon the AWB to continue to act responsibly after the tragic death of Eugene Terre’blanche
We call upon the National Government to plan for protection of farmers as they worry about their futures
We express our solidarity and empathy for those who have suffered because of crime and corruption in our country

We are far stronger united than we are apart.


By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.