Cape Town – A student leader at the University of the Western Cape has refused to sing the Afrikaans and English parts of the South African national anthem.
This happened at the institution’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday. Songezo Booi, who is the SRC deputy president, opted to sit down when the rendition of the national anthem reached the Afrikaans and English parts.
The English and Afrikaans parts of the national anthem are extracted from the apartheid era national anthem, Die Stem.
After 1994, the South African government combined Enoch Sontonga’s Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrica as well as Die Stem to form one official anthem.
In recent years the anthem has been subject of intense debate with prominent political leaders such as Julius Malema and Andile Mngxitama refusing to sing the Afrikaans part whenever it is sung in public events. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are on record calling for the removal of this section from the national anthem.
The Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) activist said that he rejects Die Stem as well as the 1994 political settlement.
“I sat down during the Afrikaans and English parts of the national anthem because I reject this anthem. The reason being that as a generation we can never sing the same anthem that was sung by the racist settlers when they were violently killing my African people,” said Booi.
“This anthem forms part of the compromises that were made by the ruling government in 1994,” said Booi.
“We reject the anthem together with the entire settlement of 1994. In the same line, we are reminding all Azanian people that our country is yet to be free,” he added.