RACIST RINGTONE URGES VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN SOUTH AFRICA

Digital Content

A derogatory and racist cellphone ring tone is being passed around Cape Town, vocally depicting violent actions against black people.

The lyrics of the song describe how one should tie a "k****r" to the back of a bakkie and drag him around while driving. It is reminiscent of the murder of a farm hand, Jotham Mandlaz, who died while being dragged alongside his employer's bakkie in 2004.

However, rather than being disgusted, many people have expressed amusement at the song, which has a distinctly Afrikaans tone, and have been passing it from cellphone to cellphone via Bluetooth wireless technology. The ring tone was reported to the Cape Argus by a reader, Patrick Vermeulen of Macassar, after a colleague played it to him at work. "I was very disgusted that certain people in our society can still think that way, and listen to things like that," said Vermeulen.

The chorus has a blatantly racist tone to it, as someone sings "Sleep hom bietjie hier, sleep hom bietjie daar. Sleep daai f***** k***** sommer deurmekaar" (drag him here, drag him there, drag the f****** k***** all over the place) and ends with an instruction to put dogs after the "k*****".

Responding to the lyrics of the tune, Dr Lionel Louw, chief of staff for the Office of the Premier in the Western Cape and representative of the Moral Regeneration Movement, said: "The Office of the Premier roundly condemns this ring tone that is circulating. "The form of behaviour reflected in the ring tone is criminal and its perpetrators will feel the full might of the law."

However, he said, it was in circumstances like these that modern technology counted against investigators, as the Bluetooth application used to pass the ring tone along made it virtually impossible to trace the perpetrators, similar to a chain e-mail.

"With today's phones being able to play MP3 music files and almost any media type, it's possible for anybody with a computer to make any type of ring tone or wallpaper," said Yolanda Meyer from Designi, which specialises in cellular applications.

"And if the file was spread using Bluetooth, it will be impossible to trace unless you can get hold of a phone that received the file," Meyer said. "Usually, some phones do keep a log of incoming and outgoing Bluetooth activity, but these logs can be cleared."

Despite technology allowing material like this to run unchecked, Louw insisted: "It is a minority who participate in promoting this, and such views are not the reflection of the majority."

Cape Argus