In a story being downplayed and underreported by Western media, South African Parliament Member Julius Malema led a racially violent chant at a massive rally in Johannesburg on Saturday. Malema, founder and longtime member of the far-left, Marxist, pan-African Economic Freedom Fighters (EEF) party, led thousands of supporters in a chant of “Kill the Boer,” leading to accusations of genocidal intent.

“Kill the Boer,” an anti-apartheid struggle song popularized in the 1990s by members of the African National Congress, refers to White descendants of the Dutch settlers (“Boers”) that colonized South Africa during the 17th-19th centuries. The chant was eventually condemned by the ANC in 2013—the same year Julius Malema was expelled from the party for political extremism and incendiary remarks. He founded the EEF later that year to fight for increased land ownership among Black South Africans.

“Shoot to kill!” Malema told a packed arena of supporters during the rally to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the EEF’s founding. “Kill the Boer, the farmer!”

Backlash over the chant began circulating, first in South Africa and then internationally. John Steenhuisen, leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), the ANC’s parliamentary opposition, condemned Malema as a “bloodthirsty tyrant” determined to “ignite a civil war.” The Democratic Alliance later announced that it filed charges against Malema and the ANC with the United Nation’s Human Rights Council. “The first element of our UN case will focus on Malema’s repeated incitement of ethnic violence,” Steenhuisn said. “The second element will charge the ANC national government…over its years-long failure to take action against their one-time protégé even as brutal farm murders continue to escalate in the wake of Malema’s demagoguery.”

The “farm murders” are a decades-long series of brutal attacks against primarily White farmers throughout South Africa in which homesteads are looted and burned and the owners are often murdered. Although official murder rates are difficult to establish based on inconsistent reporting, the estimated number is nearly 2,500 victims.

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Malema’s rally caught international attention when Tesla CEO Elon Musk, himself a South African, tweeted a call to action to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Julius Malema has a lengthy history of inflammatory remarks of this nature and has been taken to court over several notable instances. Elsewhere in his speech, Malema praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying “We are Putin, Putin is us! We will never support imperialism against brother Putin!”

The Russian president has been quietly strengthening alliances with a number of African nations in recent years, gaining access to valuable resources amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

However, despite Malema’s inflammatory, pro-Putin rhetoric, multiple Western media outlets are rushing to his defense, arguing that the “Kill the Boer” chant isn’t meant to be taken literally. Instead, according to outlets like the New York Times, “Killing the Boer” refers to overturning racist political systems and the accusations of attempted genocide are merely a right-wing conspiracy theory.

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