One of South Africa’s major kwaito hits, Kaffir, released 14 years
ago and recently replayed on 5FM, has cost the station a R10000 fine,
imposed by the broadcast watchdog, writes Monica Laganparsad in the Sunday Times.

But the DJ at the centre of the fuss has blamed the outcry on “white guilt”.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa
(BCCSA) ruled this week that Arthur Mafokate’s controversial 1995
protest song has “no place” in a country where “political correctness
and sensitivity need to be practised”.

The song, considered a classic, starts with the words:
Kom hier, kaffer, kom hier! Hoekom het jy nie my kar skoongemaak nie.
.. Bliksem! The reaction follows: Baas, don’t call me a kaffir…

The song goes on to say: I don’t come from the devil, don’t call me a kaffir, you won’t like it if I call you baboon.

Although it was an instant hit in post-apartheid South
Africa — it sold more than 150000 copies and became a club sensation —
it was banned by several radio stations.

Last November 5FM’s DJ Fresh outraged several listeners
when he played the song on his drive time show’s daily segment known as
Cheese of the Day. The week’s theme was kwaito.

The SABC, owners of 5FM, said in its appeal that there
had been no malicious intent in playing the song. The hit, it claimed,
is said to “have set a precedent for the post-apartheid generations’
struggle combining dance music with the new phenomenon of freedom of

The BCCSA ruled last year that the song amounted to
“grossly offensive language” broadcast at a time when children were
likely to be part of the audience.

One of the BCCSA tribunal members, Tembeka Mdlulwa,
believed the song could offer an educational opportunity for parents.
She was, however, outvoted and the appeal was dismissed on Thursday.

Yesterday Mafokate, known as the former king of kwaito, said the song was still relevant.

“I don’t think it was a fair judgment. I wouldn’t
encourage radio stations not to play the song and if push comes to
shove I will pay the R10000 on their (5FM’s) behalf.”

The singer said the song had been used to re-launch 5FM when its name was changed.

DJ Fresh said he stood by his decision and would meet Mafokate’s payment “halfway”.

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