Elon Musk on Friday called for people to unsubscribe from the New York Times after they said an anti-white chant at a large South African political rally, seen in a now-viral video, “should not be taken as a literal call to violence.” The chant at a Johannesburg stadium was led by South Africa’s third largest political party, EFF, called to “Kill the Boer.”
“The New York Times actually has the nerve to support calls for genocide,” Musk, who is South African, said. “If ever there was a time to cancel that publication, it is now.”
During a packed rally at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium on Saturday, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema recited the notorious anti-white chant, “kill the Boer.”
The Boers are white South Africans who descended from Dutch colonists that settled the area in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Supporters joined Mamela on stage, with tens of thousands of more packed into the arena singing chants in Zulu, then English, “Shoot to kill! Kill the Boer, the farmer!” EFF is the nation’s third-largest political party.
The New York Times said that the viral clip was “seized upon by some Americans on the far right, who said that it was a call to violence.”
They quoted Elon Musk, who wrote on Twitter on Monday, “They are openly pushing for genocide of white people in South Africa,” tagging South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Mr. Malema leads the Economic Freedom Fighters, a party that advocates taking white-owned land to give to Black South Africans. That has made his embrace of the chant all the more disturbing to some whites,” the New York Times wrote.
“Despite the words, the song should not be taken as a literal call to violence, according to Mr. Malema and veterans and historians of the anti-apartheid struggle. It has been around for decades, one of many battle cries of the anti-apartheid movement that remain a defining feature of the country’s political culture.”
The chant, the outlet noted, was “born at a time when Black South Africans were fighting a violent, racist regime, and was made popular in the early 1990s by Peter Mokaba, a former youth leader in the African National Congress.”
They noted that the ANC distanced itself from the song in 2012 the same year Malema was expelled for incendiary statements.
University of Johannesburg professor Bongani Ngqulunga said the phrase “kill the Boer” is not meant to promote violence, but rather, “It was a call to mobilize against an oppressive system.”
Nelson Mandela University historian Nomalanga Mkhize said of the chant: “Young people feel that it rouses them up when they sing it today. I don’t think that they intend it to mean any harm.”
In a 2018 interview, Malema said “we have not called for the killing of white people, at least for now,” adding that he “can’t guarantee the future.”
Just one day after the chants filled the stadium, a white farmer was tortured and killed on his property.
Theo and Marlinda Bekker, white farmers, were attacked on their property in the province of Mpumalanga. the couple was tied up in their home after Theo went out to let out his cattle, and his wife was locked in the bathroom. Theo had his throat slit.
“The suspects forced him back home and tied him and his wife up. His wife was locked up in the bathroom, and [the suspects] took [an undisclosed amount] of firearms from the safe. They took the vehicle and left. Later, they were involved in an accident, and four suspects were arrested,” a spokesman for the Mpumalanga police said.
Chairperson of the Southern African Agri Initiative Theo de Jager said that “over the last 20 years, on average, there has been one farm attack every two days and a farm murder every five days. On average, there are 72 farm murders and 185 attacks every year.” De Jager said that in 2022, “there were six murders of black farmers.”