South African musician and controversial defender of Afrikanerdom Steve Hofmeyr has defended the flying of South Africa's apartheid-era flag at public events -- widely considered a symbol of white supremacy -- saying, "South Africans need to develop a stomach for things that offend you."
The singer spoke to HuffPost SA on Tuesday morning, following the displaying of the old flag during Monday's #BlackMonday events.
"Using flags as symbols, any, are secondary. Get used to a diverse nation. Unity is a myth. Tolerance is everything. A solution to this scourge is primary. Black Monday was unusually accomplished, peaceful and civil. And flags and anthems are not unconstitutional. Develop a stomach for things that offend you but don't cost you. Welcome to the new belated South Africa -- not for sissies."
Communities throughout South Africa took to the streets on Monday to raise awareness about farm attacks and murders in a mass protest dubbed "Black Monday". Images of some participants waving the apartheid-era South African flag soon started circulating on social media, causing an uproar.
Organisers asked that those attending should not bring apartheid symbols, or sing apartheid songs.
"We are against everything that is a part of the old South Africa. We won't be singing Die Stem, we won't be carrying the apartheid flag, and we won't allow any hate speech," Talita Basson, the organiser of the Genoeg is Genoeg (Enough is Enough) #BlackMonday campaign in the Western Cape, told News24.
Political parties have since come out against the protest, with the ANC calling the use of the old flag during the events "arrogant" and "offensive".
The national Department of Arts and Culture has expressed its unreserved sympathy for "the plight of our farming communities" but has warned that it is "deeply disturbed by some of the symbolism that characterised the protest action".
"It is important to note that the flying of the old flag does not advance the cause for social cohesion and nation building," a spokesperson from the department commented. "We condemn this action with the strongest contempt it deserves."