Tuesday, September 4, 2007

UMSHINI WAMI (aka ak47)

An interesting freedom of singing debate?


Mail and Guardian.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Young Communists League (YCL) took issue on Tuesday with African National Congress (ANC) national chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota over his remarks about those singing the freedom song, Umshini Wami.

"We respect comrade Lekota's views but we disagree with them strongly," Cosatu said in a statement.

The federation said it objected strongly to Lekota's remarks, broadcast by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, condemning those singing such songs as being izibhanxa (brainless or fools) and called on him to apologise publicly.

Cosatu had sought clarity from Lekota, who had explained he was making a general point not aimed at anyone in particular, including ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma.

"He argues that songs sung at this juncture have to be consistent with the key messages of the ANC. In his view these messages must be about reconciliation, peace and development."

Cosatu said if these views were left unchallenged, they would "certainly mislead a whole new generation of cadres".

"Most importantly, we disapprove strongly of the manner in which he raised his views. Sometimes it is not about what you say but how you say it."

On television, Lekota was clearly incensed and pointing to his head.

"That gesture and his body language, and calling those singing the song ... fools or brainless, which is the direct interpretation of 'izibhanxa', was to show how stupid, and what empty vessels, people who sing [it] are."

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