The organisers of the 2019 Afrikaans is Groot music festival are under pressure to drop Steve Hofmeyr as a headlining act
Many are demanding that AIG and its sponsors boycott the musician over his controversial political/racial commentary.
Steve Hofmeyr is one of South Africa’s most well-known musicians and actors, but in recent years we’ve come to know him more for his political outlook.
Steve has vocalised his concerns on a variety of social issues, including “black government”, apartheid, reverse racism, farm murders and many other topics.
While South Africa promotes freedom of speech as a right, Steve’s comments have been interpreted as harmful to the masses. So when it emerged that he was on the lineup for this year’s edition of Afrikaans is Groot, South Africans reacted fiercely.
Even those with little interest in Afrikaans music called on the festival organisers, as well as the brands supporting the annual event, to either boycott AIG or drop Hofmeyr.
This matter came to a boil this week when this year’s lineup was announced on social media and Steve was included in the front and centre of all promotional material:
Dis nog nét tien slapies voor Afrikaans is Groot Kaapstad tref! Het jy jou kaartjies vir dié belewenis? Daar is enkele kaartjies oor vir die konsert op 14 Maart – kry joune nou. Bespreek nét by @Computicket – klik hier: https://t.co/1gbtG73Ql1.@GrandWestSA pic.twitter.com/bk3IdWTULg
— Afrikaans is Groot (@AfrIsGroot) March 4, 2019
It didn’t take long for social media users to dig up some of Steve’s most controversial comments from years gone by, before calling on Afrikaans is Groot and their sponsors to take action:
Dear @MTNza, your sponsorship of this person’s performance is an insult to all peace loving South Africans. If he performs at Afrikaans is Big concert then withdraw your sponsorship. We are not against AIB but against the insults of the so called singer! https://t.co/H1xCYsb21K
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) March 14, 2019
In 2011 #SteveHofmeyr wrote a tribute song to Eugene Terre’blanche. This song includes the derogatory *k* word.
Botswana, Namibia, New Zealand cancelled his concerts over the years.
— Eloquent Delinquent (@EloquentTash) March 15, 2019
Guys. Are we aware that there’s a show in this, our land, that has Steve Hofmeyr as a headliner with the sponsorship support of:
Jacaranda FM (Kagiso Media)
We buy cars
Brands like this would be the first…
— Omphulusa (@ShanduMul) March 12, 2019
When pressed for comment by Channel 24, the organisers of Afrikaans is Groot stood firm on their decision to include the controversial singer in this year’s lineup
Johan C Venter, the festival’s spokesperson responded harshly: “I’m sending an extract from our press release from 4 November 2014 when we addressed the same topic. This extract explains Afrikaans is Groot’s position relating to the topic. Our position on the matter has not changed since then.
“It is not the function of AIG to get involved or comment on the personal or public viewpoints of any artist, including Steve. Those who bought the tickets did it with his participation as part of the offering – each ticket is a contract with the buyer. Therefore, as one of the country’s most popular music stars, Steve is still performing in the concert.”
Despite their firm stance, it appears as if some of the brands that are sponsoring the concert are having second thoughts
MTN announced on Friday morning that they would be pulling their sponsorship from Afrikaans is Groot:
We have taken the decision to cut all ties with the AIG event. Through its brand and network, MTN seeks to connect South Africans and bring people together. As such, we cannot sponsor an event that in any way contradicts our objectives. Read more: https://t.co/d4OrfFBhhj
— MTN South Africa (@MTNza) March 15, 2019
As it stands, Steve Hofmeyr is still on the lineup but one wonders if more sponsors may be forced into reconsidering their stance on supporting the much-maligned singer.
He has not responded to the latest calls to have him dropped from Afrikaans is Groot, but it is comments and posts such as the one below (displaying the old-Apartheid flag) which continue to offend many South Africans.
Good rains. Found a waterproof roof. Mooi ne. pic.twitter.com/QURNuOravs
— Steve Hofmeyr (@steve_hofmeyr) February 2, 2019
Concert organisers in New Zealand, Botswana and other nations have distanced themselves from Steve Hofmeyr in the past few years. Is it time that South Africa does the same?
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