After a long and drawn-out saga that even involved smashed DStv decoders, Afrikans singer Steve Hofmeyr has withdrawn from the line-up of the Afrikaans is Groot concert in Cape Town, as well as, possibly, future events.
He will, however, still perform at the show in Pretoria.
Taking to Facebook, he announced, in Afrikaans, that he’d met with the directors of the festival and said he would take a step back so that the concerts would be able to continue in Cape Town next year.
“I do this in the interests of my colleagues and our big production team. I understand the enormous challenges in terms of infrastructure and costs and what the loss of income would mean to my fellow artists.”
He said his decision was based on Sun International saying they would refuse to host the concert in Cape Town if Hofmeyr performed.
Hofmeyr said he was still aggrieved that money, sponsors and the political narrative could prescribe how to do things in the arts field.
“I don’t speak that language and have no desire to learn to speak it. I don’t bow the knee before the haters of free speech and no boycott will make me stop caring about my nation’s grievances. My tours will continue and I will not hesitate to trumpet the names of our nation’s destroyers, while Sun International, DStv and MultiChoice say nothing about the incitement of violence and hate speech against my people.
“If they can silence me, they can quietly remove us from the picture.
“You strengthen my hand. I won’t be quiet. Thanks.”
It was announced last month that Hofmeyr would still perform at this year’s Afrikaans is Groot (AiG) concert to be held in November.
This was despite Sun International’s Times Square asking the concert’s organisers to drop Hofmeyr.
Sun International said in a press release at the time that they were legally bound to the AiG organisers to host the upcoming concert at their Times Square property this year, featuring Hofmeyr.
However, they clearly have no such contractual obligations for future concerts.
“Based on legal advice, we have no recourse to refuse to host the concert, or to demand that the organiser removes Steve Hofmeyr,” said Sun International in August.
“The contracts were unfortunately concluded some months ago. We nonetheless regard the current debate to be of importance and have asked the organiser to reconsider Steve Hofmeyr’s inclusion in the show and to consider the impact this may have on the other show performers. The final decision, however, rests with the organiser.
“While Sun International believes in the rights of all people to celebrate their cultures, our belief is that such celebrations should not divide South Africans. Once we have met our legal obligation. We will take steps in the future to ensure that we have greater oversight over the selection of performers in events hosted at our venues to protect the values enshrined in our South African constitution, namely upholding non-racism, non-discrimination, and respect for all.”
Solidarity Helping Hand and concert organisers also responded to reports of a possible cancellation of the event and the request to drop the singer.
Helping Hand deputy managing director Ernst Vorster said that AiG “has never been or will not be a platform for political agendas”.
Vorster confirmed Hofmeyr would still be performing at the show as originally planned.
“AiG has a contract with the public which they want to fulfil,” he said.
“The ticket holders expect Hofmeyr, one of our biggest Afrikaans artists, to be at the show. Hofmeyr’s contribution to the Afrikaans music industry is huge. We want to give him the opportunity to make that contribution at AiG and for the ticket buyers to enjoy as they are the main sponsors of AiG.”
Earlier this year, Toyota withdrew its sponsorship after an online furore erupted over Hofmeyr.
It followed on from an announcement by MTN that it would no longer be the headline sponsor of AIG.
MultiChoice later announced they were banning the controversial singer, who has faced ongoing flak for his public comments, including one that black people were supposedly the architects of apartheid.
Hofmeyr started a competition to reward those who unsubscribed from DStv and destroyed their dishes in support.
Hofmeyr has claimed he’s the victim of a smear campaign.
“All the things I heard I said: 1. we want to go back to Apartheid. 2. Blacks were bad. 3. Apartheid was better than democracy. 3. I sang the k-word 4. I have an affinity for posting old flags… For these lies (and barbaric unrest control), our sponsors flee.”