Bono angers white South Africans over liberation song


U2 SINGER Bono has been accused by white interest groups in South Africa of endorsing a liberation song that they claim is an incitement to shoot and kill farmers.

The former Nobel peace prize nominee, who was due to perform with U2 in Johannesburg last night, was quoted in South Africa’s Sunday Timesnewspaper defending IRA rebel songs as “folk music”.

Bono’s comments were seen by some as an expression of support for Julius Malema, the youth leader of the governing African National Congress, who was last year accused of hate speech for his renditions of an anti-apartheid song that contained the words “shoot the Boer” – Boer is Dutch for farmer.

Bono reportedly said he was aware of the Malema row. “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 Sunday Timessaid Bono sang one of them with lyrics that told of carrying guns and getting them ready for action. “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,” it quoted him as saying.

Bono did add that context was important. “But would you want to sing that in a certain community? It’s pretty dumb, yet it’s about where and when you sing those songs. There’s a rule for that kind of music.”

The remarks provoked criticism from groups that claim the “shoot the Boer” lyrics fuel hostility to South Africa’s white minority. Some have linked it to last year’s murder of white supremacist Eugene Terre’Blanche.

Willie Spies, the legal representative for AfriForum in a current court action against Malema over the song, accused Bono of meddling in an issue he did not understand. “We think Bono is perhaps not fully informed about what the position is,” he said. “I guess he doesn’t know about the polarisation it caused last year.” – ( Guardianservice)