Durban - South African musicians are bearing the brunt of the country’s xenophobic attacks with many of their gigs cancelled this week.
Kelly Khumalo, Big Nuz, Black Coffee, Winnie Khumalo, Ringo Madlingozi and Cassper Nyovest have had their international acts affected by calls for a boycott.
UK based company Elite Promotions, on its Facebook page, revealed that Kelly’s UK show, scheduled to open on May 1, had been postponed in solidarity with the innocent victims of xenophobia in South Africa.
Brickz also had his UK tour suspended. He was due in London on Friday. Big Nuz and Black Coffee, set to perform in Zimbabwe and Mozambique respectively, have pulled out of their shows.
Booking agent in South Africa, Tenny T, said there was no reason to blame musicians. “Around 99.9 percent of our artists are supporting the cause that says no to xenophobia. They do not deserve this. They have worked hard, and having these restrictions imposed on them is wrong.
“Just because they are South African does not make them part of the xenophobic attacks.”
Tenny T said while there were threats from people living in African countries to boycott events – and others who had threatened stars on social media, many local musicians like award winning hip hop artist Nyovest were sticking to their guns and would perform at their scheduled events.
Speaking to the Sunday Tribune yesterday, Nyovest said he was not scared of the threats made on social media.
“It takes a senseless individual to make threats, as senseless as those who are killing and victimising our brothers and sisters in some parts of South Africa. I will be performing in Zimbabwe as planned.”
All proceeds will go towards xenophobia relief needs.
He encourages other local acts to follow suit and voice their stance against xenophobia. “We can understand where people are coming from when they threaten to boycott South African shows, as their loved ones have been targets of these attacks. However, it should not be taken out on artists who have been vocal against the issue.”
Organisers of the Green Concert, a festival supporting environmental awareness in Harare, scheduled for May 15, were threatened by a boycott from locals if Ringo Madlingozi and Winnie Khumalo performed at the event.
Winnie Khumalo said it was “unfair to be punished for other people’s actions”. She read about the boycott on social media, and was unsure if she and Madlingozi would perform at the event if the attacks continued.
“We are deeply saddened at what is taking place in our country, and as artists we are trying our best to create awareness of these horrid acts on foreigners.
“There will be a song released soon in support of the anti-xenophobia campaign. Proceeds will go to victims and families affected,” she said.
According to Winnie, various artists, sports stars, radio personalities and actors are to be at an event at Luthuli House in Joburg tomorrow at 11am.
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthetwa, announced his department was to hold a month-long cultural programme to build unity among communities.
He said it would help forge closer relations among people living in the country.