The King’s speech: was it hate, or just hateful?


King VomitsIn March this year King Good Zwelethini made comments calling for foreigns to pack their bags and go home. Cue an outbreak of xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal, which swiftly spread to other parts of the country.

The king later claimed that his comments had been misinterpreted, but this didn’t stop a charge of hate speech being laid against him at the South African Human Rights Commission.

The commission announced this week that it will make a preliminary determination on the case by mid-June. The commissioners seem to be taking their time, but we reckon it’s fair enough: the distinction between illegal hate speech and hateful speech – which may not be nice, but is perfectly legal – is one that is often lost, and it’s important that they don’t rush to judgement, or a judgment.




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