NEWS

Afrikaners Abroad to Steve Hofmeyr: We Don’t Want You Here

His concert in New Zealand is cancelled after uproar by expats.

08/09/2017 15:18 SAST | Updated 08/09/2017 15:50 SAST

A concert in New Zealand featuring singer Steve Hofmeyr as one of its headline acts has been cancelled following pressure from South African expats angered at his inclusion.

Email correspondence seen by HuffPost SA shows the Wellington, New Zealand, leg of the Afrikaans Is Lekker 2017 concert tour scheduled for September 22 was cancelled. This was after "SA expats and ourselves forwarded information on this racially provocative right-wing singer to [the venue]", founder of the African-European Indaba, Johan de Villiers, told HuffPost SA.

De Villiers, based in Amsterdam, said while organisers are yet to provide an official reason, "on receipt of the information [detailing Hofmeyer's controversial comments and positions on various issues], there was a cancellation".

He also claimed the city management of Adelaide, Australia, is also considering whether the concert planned to be held in their city hall should still take place.

'Totally insulting to include Hofmeyr'
De Villiers said many South African expats abroad have been taking action against Hofmeyr -- and others whom they believed to be tarnishing the image of Afrikaners -- for approximately five years.

Earlier this year, a concert by Hofmeyr scheduled for February 11 at at the Nederburg Wine Estate was cancelled after an appeal to the estate by De Villiers to scrap the event, he said.

De Villiers said action by angered individuals taken abroad has not only been against Hofmeyr, but also organisations such as AfriForum. This includes convincing Dutch parliamentarians to vote against a motion on the "Situation of the Afrikaners" in 2012 in which AfriForum had claimed Afrikaners were being discriminated against in South Africa, among other issues.

"It is totally insulting" that a tour titled "Afrikaans Is Lekker" features Steve HofmeyrJohan De Villiers

"Many expat South Africans live in New Zealand and Australia, some with painful memories from a life under apartheid, some who have Afrikaans as their mother tongue. To be reminded of their painful past by having a racially provocative singer in the line-up celebrating their language is shameful," he wrote in his email appeal.

De Villiers added it was "a shame" that Hofmeyr was included as the rest of the line-up for the concerts "is very good and they deserve a good tour". On the Auckland Live events booking site, the Afrikaans Is Lekker festival is described as "the annual celebration of Afrikaans artists in Australia and New Zealand... with stars including Steve Hofmeyr, Emo Adams, Ricus Nel and Lisa Bronner" as some of the headline acts.

It says Hofmeyr "needs no introduction and has been a favourite of South Africans for over 30 years".

De Villiers in his email, however, lambasted Hofmeyr for a history of controversial comments and co-platforming. This includes Hofmeyr calling the "late white supremacist Eugène Terre'Blanche a "cultural icon'", "blaming apartheid on black South Africans", and "insulting black South Africans by continuously singing the apartheid anthem ('Die Stem')".

He added that while the complainants believed in freedom of association and the right for "every community and venue to decide who they allow to perform", they felt compelled to publicly rebuke Hofmeyr's inclusion.

"We feel we do not want our language to internationally be associated with this singer... without making it clear to the Australian community that not all Afrikaans people support his ideas, statements or his inclusion [in the tour]".

"It is important for reconciliation in South Africa that we as Afrikaans-speaking South Africans, especially those who benefited from apartheid and white privilege, are seen to speak out against the actions that we believe may be damaging relations with fellow citizens," he said.

'Disgust and disappointment over sponsorship'
De Villiers also expressed "disgust and disappointment" over ShowMax's co-sponsorship of the tour, saying it it is "unacceptable given Hofmeyr's history... that he will be sponsored to represent our language abroad".

"We fully support the tour as such and the right of the sponsors to host whoever they want, but... other sponsors, however, have put principle before profit and dumped Hofmeyr. We cannot be silent any longer," he wrote.

In response to questions posed to co-sponsor ShoxMax on whether they endorse the inclusion of Hofmeyr in the event, head of communications Richard Boorman told HuffPost SA the sponsor "plays no part in the selection of artists at an event".

"Our role is simply to connect South Africans overseas with entertainment from home," he said. "We support all manner of South African events overseas as a way of promoting [our] service to South African expats... which includes programming from home".

'Hofmeyr is AfriForum's friend'
|The Afrikaans Is Lekker tour is organised by South African Events and co-sponsored by ShowMax and Wêreldwyd, an initiative by AfriForum.

The latter, as early as 2014, said a "campaign against Steve Hofmeyr" following his various remarks "serves as confirmation of the gross double standards in force in South Africa and that these double standards contribute to many Afrikaners becoming further alienated from South Africa".

While AfriForum at the time said it did not always agree with Hofmeyr's actions, it agreed with him that "there is nothing wrong with singing 'Die Stem' [apartheid South Africa's national anthem] at Afrikaans cultural occasions".

"AfriForum regards Hofmeyr as a friend," wrote AfriForum's deputy CEO Ernst Roets in 2015.