ANC leaders to testify in Malema hate speech trial

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and Winnie Madikizela Mandela gesture outside Johannesburg court, 12 April 2011 Mr Malema has been rebuked by the ANC for singing the song, but argues it is part of history

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Leaders of South Africa's governing ANC party are expected to testify in an important case about hate speech.

Key figures, including ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, will defend their youth president's right to sing a controversial struggle song.

The song includes the disputed phrase "shoot the Boer".

Boer is the Afrikaans word for farmer and the Afrikaans-speaking community which brought the case insists the song is offensive and incites racial hatred.

But Julius Malema, the head of the ANC Youth League, argues it is an important part of South Africa's recent history.

Mr Malema is likely to testify on Tuesday, BBC's southern Africa correspondent, Karen Allen reports.

The ANC's defence also includes leading poet Wally Serote.

Crowds have gathered outside the high court in Johannesburg to hear a crucial day of evidence in the hate speech trial.

Mr Malema has arrived at court, along with a host of other figures from the ANC, who are expected to testify over the coming days, reports Karen Allen from outside the court.

Winnie Madikizela Mandela, the ex-wife of former President Nelson Mandela who has been supporting Mr Malema throughout this trial, is expected to arrive shortly.

The Afrikaans-speaking community who have brought the case against Mr Malema are seeking to ban the controversial struggle song.

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