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Limpopo student killed for singing Christian songs

11 April 2008

Alex Matthews of Thought Leader notes the disparity in media coverage between an incident of racial intolerance at the University of the Free State and one of religious intolerance at the University of Limpopo.

In a recent edition of the Cape’s Weekend Argus, columnist William Saunderson-Meyer pertinently points out the contrast between the overwhelming — and appropriately outraged — media response to the University of the Free State racist video debacle with the story of student in Limpopo who was killed for refusing to sing a “struggle” song on the way back from a protest at the Union Buildings — a murder that went virtually unreported both locally and abroad.

Only the Sowetan gave it significant coverage. Perhaps more evidence that not only do the media not “get religion”, but that they are out to “get religion”.

Died without a song – Sowetan:

Immediate suspension awaits three students accused of beating another student to death .

The University of Limpopo’s Turfloop campus said yesterday that George Tsoai, 24, Raymond Mabelebele, 23 and Tibane Serumula, 22, would be suspended from the institution – if and when they were released from jail.

The students were denied bail yesterday by the Mankweng magistrate’s court in connection with the killing.

The three allegedly beat Nkosinathi Mhlongo during a minibus trip from Pretoria on Friday.

Mhlongo apparently refused to sing a protest song on a minibus ferrying the students to Turfloop.

According to the university the accused, affiliated to Sasco, asked for a lift to Polokwane in a mini-bus that ferried only members of the Students Christian Organisation (SCO).

“An argument ensued when they forcefully tried to stop the SCO members from singing Christian songs. Mhlongo allegedly refused to sing their protest songs and was allegedly beaten all the way from Mokgophong to Mankweng Hospital.”

Police spokesman Malan Nchabeleng said his body was thrown out of the rear window of the minibus near the hospital. “The body was hit by an oncoming vehicle and was found in a shocking state in the road,”he said.

The racial incident at the University of the Free State (in which no one was killed) was widely reported in most of the main newspapers in South Africa, often with follow-up stories over several days.

But perhaps it is also yet another instance of persistent racism in the “mainstream” media. As in the case with the serial witchcraft killings in the Eastern Cape, in this case both the perpetrators and victim were black. The fact that it was only given significant coverage in The Sowetan, a newspaper with a predominantly black readership, seems to bear this out. The fact that newspapers with a predominantly white readership don’t regard such stories as sufficiently newsworthy could indicate that they are racist as well as tolerant of religious intolerance.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 11 April 2008 8:45 am

    Shocking and cause for grave concern. Thanks for this post.

  2. 11 April 2008 9:28 am


    It is indeed shocking.

    The case of the guy who shot a kid who stole his cell phone is shocking more for the reaction it causes. It’s a bit llike road rage — perhaps the guy who did it will have a guilty conscience, and the kid will come back to haunt his dreams. But at least he had a genuine grievance. What’s shocking about that is the reaction of other people, who think it is not only understandable but justifiable.

    But killing a guy over songs! What were they thinking of? Will it come out at the trial? And even if it does, will the media report it?

  3. 11 April 2008 2:17 pm

    Isn’t it worth writing letters to newspapers about this?

  4. 11 April 2008 3:02 pm


    Writing to the newspapers — it’s certainly worth a try!

    Who knows – the letters editor might ask the sub why iy got spiked!

  5. KULYSO permalink
    8 May 2008 7:25 pm


  6. gody permalink
    24 March 2010 8:42 am

    turfloop students niya shonisa

  7. 13 October 2015 10:37 pm

    I blame jacob zuma

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