Why I left #FriendsOfAmstelSA before Tems even performed

Tems performing at Friends Of AmstelSA, Pretoria. Picture: Instagram

Tems performing at Friends Of AmstelSA, Pretoria. Picture: Instagram

Published Dec 12, 2022


The last festival/concert I went to was DSTV Delicious Festival. As I previously wrote on this platform, that wasn’t exactly the best experience.

This time around, as another of Nigeria’s brilliant afrobeats artists visited Mzansi, I tagged along with a friend to Friends of Amstel to go and watch Tems and a host of top local supporting acts.

Despite what I experienced last time around, I was optimistic that I’d enjoy a laid-back afternoon with some good food, drinks and great performances.

I had good reason to be optimistic – this was a “private” event that was set to be attended by a handful of Amstel guests and some online competition winners (my friend was one of those). I figured this system would help us avoid the overcrowding and disorganisation that had marred my experience.

What concerned me though was that we were told to park at Supersport Stadium in Pretoria and catch a bus to the “secret” venue. I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea.

What’s worse is, we drove for nearly an hour out of Pretoria into some unfamiliar outskirts.

Then, by the time our bus arrived, they had run out of drinks and food vouchers. What’s worse, there was no seating available by the main area in front of the stage.

It was packed. We went to the beer garden area, which had no view of the stage, and we waited and waited for the food and drinks tokens to arrive.

Eventually, we decided to buy our own drinks and hang out in the beer garden as we waited for vouchers and tried to digest the situation we were in. Luckily, we came across a few friends.

After about two hours, when the food queue subsided, we tried to grab some grub but found that the food was finished and we would need to wait for more to arrive or be cooked (I’m not sure which it was).

At that point (around 5pm), we’d been at the venue for about three hours. Given that our prospects of eating were bleak, there was very little hope of finding a good space by the stage and there was about five hours before Tems hit the stage, we decided our best option was to leave.

But how? Buses would be transporting people back to the stadium only at around midnight and we were in the middle of nowhere. Uber was our best bet.

Given how remote the location was, it took about 20 minutes for us to find a driver.

While we felt relieved to be headed out, we also felt disappointed that we hadn't seen Tems or any of the other great acts we’d looked forward to seeing – AKA, K.O, Kamo Mphela and Young Stunna.

Several of the friends we’d met there left shortly after us. “The last straw was eating a raw burger patty,” one said to me via a text message the next morning.

Another said he’d left because he had anticipated chaos at the stadium when the buses returned and drunk concert-goers got into their cars.

While it’s difficult to get a balanced take online on how things went after I left, because there were so many paid influencers in attendance, a few other issues emerged:

“Bathong en nou? 🙀#FriendsOfAmstelSA,” shared @mash_iie along with a video of two women fighting right in front of the stage. While the fight was nothing to laugh about, an intoxicated Anele “Ney The Bae” Zondo can be heard in the background ironically singing along to Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down”.

Several Tweeps called out Zondo, who was the MC, for apparently getting drunk and being a shoddy host throughout the evening. At one point, she allegedly called concertgoers b****** after they grew tired of her shenanigans.

@athabzz explained: “When the crowd started to get tired of her chants she said “You’re about to listen to someone speak English(Tems) but I’m the only one speaking Zulu to you! Ngithe…” Then she called us bitches”

“They should have sent Anele Zondo home when she started slurring on the mic,” she added. “There’s absolutely no reason for an MC to swear at and talk down to attendees.”