Shoot the Boer: a discourse analysis of online posts and related texts
The controversial singing of the Shoot the Boer song by Julius Malema was a focus of media attention during the period of March 3, 2010 to September 12, 2011.This study aims to analyse the discourses participants draw on in the expression of their positions of race and identity in selected online texts, as well as the different meanings and interpretations the Shoot the Boer song has acquired over time. Using the data drawn from three court rulings, namely the South Gauteng High Court, North Gauteng High Court and the Equality Court and commentaries from various online websites, this project focuses on the various ways in which issues of race are realised through language by focusing on the construction and interpretation of Julius Malema and the Shoot the Boer song within different contextual spaces. This study uses a critical discourse analysis framework, as well as theories of intertextuality, resemiotization, contextand chronotope to analyse the texts which were generated in response to the song. Key findings include the ways in which participants who consider themselves as part of a minority group, construct themselves as 'victims‘ in relation to Malema and the singing of the song. Similarly, another key finding is that the broader discourse of fear exhibited in the various commentaries links to a general fear of 'black power‘ where Malema is a signifier of this 'black power.‘ Overall, the thesis argues that the meanings of the song are multiple and shift with the changing chronotopia of its performance. It therefore support Blommaert‘s (2005) emphasis on the importance of 'text trajectories‘ in establishing the meaning of texts, and argues that the historical meanings associated with the Shoot the Boer song form a complex set of frames on which different participants draw when interpreting the song in 2010.