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Jansen: 'Boer' is inflammatory

Prof Jansen says leaders must choose their words carefully when referring to certain groups.

Free State University rector Jonathan Jansen. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Free State University rector Jonathan Jansen says the use of the word 'boer' by any leader is inflammatory regardless of the context or explanation for using it.

Last week, ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa told a crowd in a Limpopo town, "If all South Africans don't vote, we will regress. The boers will come back to control us."

Jansen says leaders must choose their words more carefully when referring to certain groups in society.

He has suggested that some of the country's vocabulary be changed to avoid offending citizens in future.

"I always say to myself, if I am not prepared to use a particular statement in one community, then I shouldn't use it at all. I think that should be the golden rule."

He says words such as 'boer' have the intention to cause harm regardless of the context they are being used in.

Meanwhile, Ramaphosa in a statement released last week, said it's unfortunate that people were offended by his use of the term.

He used the word "unfortunate" several times in his statement, but did not apologise for making the comment.

Ramaphosa said the word wasn't meant to be derogatory and said he believes the phrase is used by black South Africans to refer to the apartheid regime.

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