Rap song banned for incitement to violence
The song ‘Get Out’ by Zimbabwean-born hip-hop artist Zubz has been banned on the South African Broadcasting Corporation, SABC. This followed a complaint to the Broadcasting Compliants Tribunal of South Africa by a right wing party called Freedom Front Plus stating that the song contained hate speech
In its ruling, the Complaints Tribunal stated: “The song threatens imminent violence and is accordingly prohibited by the Broadcasting Code for Broadcasting”.
It added that while artists are usually afforded special leeway with regard to freedom of expression, the general effect of the song is one of a call to action with lyrics like “tell my people fight”, backed by machine gun sounds in the background.
The Tribunal stated: “Its dominant effect is that of militancy and violent threats”.
While the song can now no longer be broadcast, the commercial distribution of the DVD, or other recordings of the song, are not limited by this order.
‘Irresponsible and inexcusable’
Freedom Front Plus Party spokesperson and member of parliament Willie Spies said the song is nothing other than hate speech, which is prohibited by the Constitution.
“The broadcast of this video on national tv in a country plagued by racially motivated attacks and murders, is not only inappropriate but also irresponsible and inexcusable,” he stated.
Some of the controversial lyrics which were quoted at the hearing say:
Take what is mine today and I’ll rob you tomorrow.
Take my time it’s payback.
Tell my people fight. And tell the oppressor get out.”
Willie Spies said the artist is portrayed in the video as a military commander addressing a group of black soldiers.
In its arguments before the commission, the Freedom Front Plus said it heavily relies on a previous decision by the commission in which a song by well-known songwriter Mbongeni Ngema was banned. The song, which referred to Indians, was found to be ‘undesirable’.
Willie Spies said the latest case is ‘remarkably’ similar to Mbongeni Ngema’s song
The broadcasting authority, however, did not rule on whether the song amounted to hate speech, only on the issue of incitement to violence.
Zubz was quoted as saying: “To assume being white is synonymous with being an oppressor is just backward thinking. When I spoke of ‘the oppressor’ I deliberately took race out, because the act of oppression can come from anyone, regardless of colour. I experience oppression from non-whites. My focus in the song is not on who does the oppressing, but the oppression itself.”
The song in question – music video on YouTube
Zubz: ‘Get Out’
Google News – continously updated:
PoliticsWeb – 7 May 2008:
‘Song inciting anti-white violence banned from SABC’
TheTimes.co.za – 7 May 2008:
‘I despise racism, says Zubz’
Sowetan – 25 April 2008:
‘Zubz song incites violence’
Mail & Guardian – 10 April 2008:
‘No judgement yet on Zubz’s ‘hate song’ ‘
Hate music: rap, guns, and freedom of musical expression
Interview with Freemuse Chairperson Dr Martin Cloonan
|Related reading on freemuse.org|