After recent weeks of severe political turmoil, when Ken Livingstone had to admit using private doctors for his annual medical check-up despite declaring his opposition to privatisation, losing the endorsements of influential columnists Jonathan Freedman of The Guardian and Dan Hodges of The Telegraph in addition to that of Labour peer lord Alan Sugar, mainly for his embrace of controversial Islamic scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi: "He supports suicide bombing in Israel. I don't agree with him on that. But he denounced any attempt to have a terrorist attack in Britain," one can understand why he might now be desperate to secure any possible vote he can.
On Saturday, 28 April Ken joined an event advertised as "In celebration of the 18th anniversary of South Africa's freedom and first non-racial democratic elections, 27 April 1994". As reported by The South African: "Livingstone, knowing that South Africans can vote in this week's local election, fittingly wasted no time in reminding the crowd of Labour's and his own personal commitment to the struggle. Though he might have been preaching to the converted, his contribution to the erection of both Mandela statues in London, against Tory opposition, was well received across the hall. Added to this some witty Thatcher and Smuts jibes and a commitment to holding the biggest party for the 20th Freedom Day Celebration at City Hall, he soon had the crowd worked up to rapturous applause. Though trying to come across as more moderate with pro-Milliband references, when the odd "Viva Ken" rang out, you could almost see a tear in his eye for his red past."
However, what the mainstream media did not report, was that a small group of Afrikaners, calling themselves "Boers in Exile", held a protest outside the church hall where the event was hosted.
With slogans on their placards ranging from "More than 3,000 farmers murdered since 1994" and "Families butchered everyday" to "No farmers, no food" and "Boer genocide = African famine," this small group of protestors handed out pamphlets informing attendees and passersby of the reality of "farm murders" and the unfolding Boer genocide in South Africa.
Ironically, whilst Mr Livingstone was addressing the crowd and patting himself on the back for his role in brokering "freedom in South Africa", the protestors had to endure verbal and at one stage physical abuse from one of the attendees. Not knowing he was on camera, the man echoed slogans like "Kill the Boer" and "The Boers should go back to Holland"; only to change his tune to the well-known ANC catchphrases of "equality" and "respect" when he noticed the iPhone camera pointing in his direction.
It is noteworthy that whilst South Africa's population grew from approximately 10 million in 1947 (Oxford University Press: Successful Human and Social Sciences Grade 7, 1999) to approximately 40.5 million in 1996 and 44.8 million in 2001, the Afrikaner population shrunk by 20,000 (2.56 million in 1996 to 2.54 million in 2001) during a five year period of "freedom" (Census 2001). Not only have the ANC's discriminatory policies since the peaceful transfer of power led to the emigration of many Afrikaners (with many others not able to afford the journey being left destitute in camps), but its hostility and indifference towards crime also made farming in South Africa the most dangerous occupation in the world
Add to this the frightening statistics of more than 3,000 farmers being murdered in more than 10,000 attacks since 1994, South African President Zuma's singing of "Shoot the Boer" at the ANC's centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein earlier this year, the fact that South Africa is now listed at stage 5 - Polarization - of Genocide by Genocide Watch, as well as the knock-on effect of these factors on food production in Sub-Saharan Africa, and one cannot help but be appalled by the misuse of words like "liberty" and "freedom" by the ANC establishment and their supporters abroad.
That is unless you are an opportunistic politician of course. Every attempt to hand a pamphlet to Mr Livingstone was greeted with a polite "No, thank you". What he just as well could have said was "The true circumstances in South Africa is an inconvenience to my political career and by accepting your pamphlet I would defeat the whole purpose of me being here - gathering votes for the upcoming mayoral elections."
One thing should be clear to all - populist politics at the expense of the Boer minority in South Africa is as alive in Britain as it is in South Africa.