Singer Kurt Darren

Johannesburg - Afrikaans singer Kurt Darren defended his decision to perform at President Jacob Zuma's inauguration in an open letter on Tuesday after a rightwing backlash.

“I was on that stage to represent my culture as an Afrikaans-speaking South African,” he wrote.

“I was not there to sing for the president or the ruling party, I was there as a South African musician who shared the stage with other South African musicians in a concert for all South Africans. We are a democracy and the concert was a good example of that.”

Darren performed with other musicians including Zahara, DJ Vetkuk, Matthew Mole, Selaelo Selota, Rebecca Malope and Mafikizolo at the inauguration on Saturday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

About 18 000 people attended the concert on the south lawns.

Darren said he had received criticism on social media websites Twitter and Facebook and had deleted some of the posts.

“When I agreed to sing at President Jacob Zuma's inauguration on Saturday in Pretoria, I expected there to be criticism, but the aggression from the comments made afterwards, is very upsetting,” Darren wrote.

“I realise that it is just a small group of people who have not moved on yet and have not realised that they live in a democratic South Africa. I have kept quiet for a few days but I feel I have to state my side of the story.”

He said he was a proud South African and travelled the world but he would always return because it was where his heart and soul was.

Darren said the comments posted to social media websites like Facebook and Twitter after his performance were shocking and he described it as watching a horror movie.

He said for someone to say they hoped his baby was born a stillborn was the most reprehensible thing anyone could say. His wife is currently pregnant.

“If I lost fans because of my performance at the inauguration on Saturday then I will accept it. People with so much hatred in their hearts are not the kinds of people I want to be associated with.

“It was an honour for me to be asked to represent Afrikaans on the stage at the inauguration,” he said.

He said he wanted the best for South Africa.

He realised there were still problems but knew most South Africans wanted to work together to make a success of the country.