A religious controversy is raging in Afrikaans circles. Punk-rock band Fokofpolisiekar have earned the wrath of Christian groups who cried blasphemy after a member of their band wrote "F*k God" on a fan's wallet after a gig last month.

"It was 5am. We were drinking shooters. I was having a discussion with a guy about religion. I jokingly wrote 'F*k God' on his wallet," explained guitarist Wynand Myburgh.

After seeing it, a friend of the 18-year-old's mother started a chain e-mail slating the band as anti-Christian, sparking an outcry in the Afrikaans media.

This week a full-page ad appeared in Beeld by Christian action media group Jesus Project, who admonished the band for "Fokofpolisiekar's half-hearted apology" and took umbrage that the band did not ask for God's forgiveness.

The advert cost in the region of R40 000 and asks the public to donate R10 to the cause. Jesus Project will be placing another ad in Beeld on Monday.

"This reaction echoes old Nationalist Party tactics. They will not compromise," said Fokofpolisiekar's manager Albert du Plessis. "They (Jesus Project) have been cashing in on Fokofpolisiekar's name," he added.

Reverend Jannie Pelser, head of Jesus Project said: "There can be no regeneration of morality if you don't respect God."

"An individual from Krugersdorp donated the money for the ad because he felt so strongly about the matter."

Meanwhile, a group of ministers from Oudsthoorn have put pressure on the Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees (KKNK) organisers and sponsors Absa to retract Fokofpolisiekar's invitation to perform in the country's biggest Afrikaans Arts festival starting April 1.

Threatening to withdraw the use of their church halls where productions were meant to be staged should the organisers not concede to their demands, last week a meeting was held between Absa and KKNK management.

On Wednesday KKNK announced that while they acknowledged the ministers' concerns, they felt Myburgh's actions were made in a private capacity and would still allow Fokofpolisiekar to perform.

They said that out of respect for the concerned parties, they would schedule the band to play last on the Kaktus Oppi Vlaktus bill. The ministers would meet on Monday to decide whether to carry out their threat.

"This has been blown out of proportion. We have never been anti-Christian and our fans know that," said Francois van Coke, lead singer of Fokofpolisiekar.

  • Fokofpolisiekar will launch their new video at Tings '*' Times in Pretoria on Monday night. They will be releasing their new single Brand Suid Afrika (Burn South Africa) on April 1.