Earlier this year, the Afrikaans Is Groot festival came under fire for their continued support of Steve Hofmeyr despite multiple brands pulling their sponsorship from the festival due to the Afrikaans singer’s views on racism in the country. Despite campaigning for Steve and championing the idea that Afrikaans people want to watch Steve live no matter what pressures external parties bring, the star has now pulled out of all future Afrikaans Is Groot shows.
In a long Facebook post, Steve reveals that while he believes he has the right to perform for those who want to see him live and continue to support him, he has realised that his actions have been putting the remainder of the Afrikaans music community’s livelihood at risk.
Steve’s decision comes after Sun International became the next big corporate to remove themselves from Steve saying they would not allow the festival to continue to take place in their venues should Steve remain on the line-up.
“Based on legal advice, we have no recourse to refuse to host the concert, or to demand that the organiser removes Steve Hofmeyr,” Sun International said in a statement last month. “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.”
The brand adds that “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.”
Steve says “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,” Steve said in Afrikaans. “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.”