A group of Christians has started an online petition to stop two bands from performing in South Africa later this month, claiming they are linked to Satanism.
The petitioners, called Stop Promoting Satanism in SA, are asking people to boycott the concerts to be held in Joburg and Cape Town.
The objection is against Polish death metal band Behemoth, and a Greek extreme metal band called Rotting Christ.
The petition also asks that people boycott the local organisations and venues bringing the bands to the country.
The bands are both being brought by Witchdoctor Promotions, an events company that was formed in 1999 by Durban-born Shaughn Pieterse. The company is known on the South African metal scene for hosting live events featuring international acts.
Pieterse said that the negativity would not deter the shows from going on.
“This is not the first time we have had this problem. There are always going to be critics, but it’s quite ridiculous that people can be so intolerant. We live in a democratic country and people should be allowed to listen to the music they choose to listen to. Music is an art form and people need to accept that.
“Just because people listen to metal, this does not make them satanic. I was often accused of being satanic in school because I listened to metal music. If I watch horror movies, does that make me satanic too?” he asked.
The online petition, which can be found on GoPetition.com begins by giving statistics on how many Christians are in South Africa.
It says: “There are certain blasphemous media/music/ event organisations and venues corrupting the minds of individuals by letting blatant satanic international artists/bands come to our beautiful country and perform, spreading their filthy message to their following and glorifying devils/demons.
“By venues allowing these organisations to book events on their premises and blaspheme God openly, promotes pure evil hate speech.
“If we can’t shut these companies down completely, then let’s stand together to slow them down at least and urge the venues to cancel booked satanic events and discourage more sacrilegious artists from arriving on our shores to pollute the minds of our youth. Not to spoil their ‘fun’, but to protect them!”
This is not the first time that Witchdoctor Promotions has been targeted by public groups regarding its events. Last year, Pieterse said that the company incurred a big loss and had to change its venue five times due to pressure from certain religious groups. He said that the metal scene in South Africa was not massive, but there was a demand for such concerts and somebody had to meet that demand.
Behemoth is set to play at Bassline in Johannesburg on March 26 and at The Assembly in Cape Town on March 27. Rotting Christ are due in Joburg on July 1 and in Cape Town the following night.
On Facebook, Durbanites attending the concerts expressed disappointment at the group opposing them.