Commission to probe ‘lekker om wit te wees’ song

Staff Writer | Jul 16, 2019
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has indicated that it intends to launch an investigation into a song by musician and comedian Shane McCallaghan.

The SAHRC said it had received a complaint about the song, Dis lekker om wit te wees.

The song’s lyrics appear to contrast white and black people, while implicitly crudely lampooning the latter. In translation – the original is in Afrikaans – they contain such remarks as: ‘It’s nice to be white… to be able to read and write, to be able to swim in rough seas… It’s nice to go for a drink, and to never smell like a shebeen, and to know how to behave, without someone asking me to.’

McCallaghan, who is better known by his stage name Shane Sies jou Vark, denied that he intended any racism in the song. He had, however, previously been the centre of a similar controversy in 2001 when a song surfaced entitled Mandela is ‘n K****r.

SAHRC Commissioner Andre Gaum commented that the lyrics seemed enough to warrant an investigation. He added that the Commission would act decisively against efforts to undermine ‘our nation-building efforts’.

The Commission has, however, been criticised for alleged inconsistency in its work. Deputy Chairperson Priscilla Jana said in May that it was the position of the Commission that black people involved in racial incidents should be treated more leniently than whites, owing to ‘the historical context’.

 

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