Julius Malema’s hate speech trial currently underway in a Johannesburg High Court has generated interest among Zimbabweans.
He is on trial for singing an anti-apartheid war song “Dubulu Bunu”loosely transalted to mean “kill the boer.”
Many pubs, hotel lobbies and banking halls here were on Thursday showing the trial live on South Africa’s 24-hour news channel ETV.
Many mid-morning banking clients could be seen keenly following the proceedings throwing in a few points of arguments among themselves in between Malema’s exchanges with the prosecution team.
“He is quite a tough guy, look at how he is tearing apart those guy’s case,” said one client who was in a queue at the Standard Chartered Bank along Second Street. “I didn’t know he was quite an intelligent and belligerent young fellow.”
Another gentleman who was in the same queue simply quipped, “That’s how it started here in Zimbabwe, it starts like this.”
Other people in the queue who seemed to be enjoying every moment of it and openly sympathising with Malema made it clear that he was on trial because he is fighting to change things in South Africa.
Malema has argued that the controversial song does not literally mean ‘kill the boer’ as is alleged but it means ‘shoot the system’.
Many Zimbabweans remember Malema for his infamous visit to Harare last year where he endorsed the controversial land reform programme saying “here in Zimbabwe you are far, in SA we are just starting.”
However on Thursday Malema told the same court that the ANC land proposal would not be similar to Zimbabwe’s which saw almost all the white commercial farmers driven out during the infamous 2 000 land invasions and resulted in widespread food shortages up until now.
During his visit last year, Malema made a fiery speech at a netball complex in Mbare making clear his intentions of pushing for the nationalisation of farms and mines currently in the hands of white South Africans.
He described President Robert Mugabe as a hero in the mould of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his successor brother Raul, because he was “not afraid of imperialists”.
He however made foes when he lampooned Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, as an ally of “imperialists”.