Dookoom lands in the eye of the storm

2014-10-19 06:00

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Hip-hop outfit Dookoom found itself in the midst of several storms this week, many playing out on social media.

Their song about the anger of farm workers, Larney Jou P**s, sharply divided public opinion, drawing support from Cosatu, but anger from lobby group AfriForum and singer Steve Hofmeyr.

AfriForum submitted a complaint to the SA Human Rights Commission requesting that the song and its music video be declared hate speech. Ernst Roets, deputy chief executive of AfriForum, is quoted on the organisation’s website as saying: “The song contains extremely racist and degrading remarks against white people in general. We received various complaints from people who feel tremendously offended by this song.”

In reply, a source close to Dookoom said the band had met with lawyers and was considering its response. One of the options is to lay a counter-complaint.

“Dookoom is of the opinion that the way AfriForum is discussing the song is incitement in itself ... By doing this, they’re avoiding the real issue – that workers are angry,” said the source.

Dookoom frontman Isaac Mutant told City Press: “It’s their right to express themselves and to make the complaint ... But AfriForum is using us to incite violence themselves. Steve Hofmeyr too ... They’re using us to push their agenda. It’s a lie that the song is hate speech.”

On Twitter, Hofmeyr accused the group of “romanticising violence” and “glorifying anarchy”.

He later likened them to Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and concluded: “Dookoom is glorified by media&unions. I get bans&boycotts for a peaceful&legal prayer #DieStem.”

Isaac Mutant said he was tired of people pitting him against Hofmeyr.

“Dookoom doesn’t stand for black versus white race division like this. There’s white people in our group.”

But he added the band did not side with Cosatu either, despite the trade federation’s insistence that the track “is a warning we should listen to”.

“We’re just a bunch of musicians saying what we say. We don’t align ourselves with politicians,” said the rapper.

Asked about mutterings on social media that the Dookoom video was going to cause an escalation in farm murders, the rapper said: “Of course they’re gonna look for a scapegoat. If not Malema, then someone else. Dookoom’s the perfect scapegoat.”

The storm around the song was not the only battle Dookoom was fighting online. Posters also questioned whether zef rappers Die Antwoord had borrowed from Dookoom – or vice versa.

This was another argument Isaac Mutant was not entertaining.

“Me and [Die Antwoord singer] Ninja are friends, actually. Nobody got influenced by nobody.

“Ninja taught me a few things and, I suppose, I taught him a few things. We’re technically very different bands. I’m proud of them ’cause they’re South African.”

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