By Emmanuel Okogba
Organisers have cancelled two concerts that were supposed to feature Nigerian pop-star Burnaboy over “increasing threats of violence”, Vanguard reports.
Burnaboy was billed to appear in what was referred to as Africans Unite concerts in Cape Town and Pretoria at the weekend.
The announcement of him going to feature drew mixed reactions from South African musicians and politicians who took their arguments from Burna Boy’s comment during a wave of xenophobic violence in South Africa. At the time, Burnaboy had vowed never to step foot in South Africa again until the government “wakes up”.
According to Burnaboy, he had his share of xenophobic experiences at the hands of South Africans in 2017 and nothing would take him there again.
After changing his mind about going to South Africa, Burnaboy had earlier this month, said he would donate part of the proceeds from the concert to the victims of xenophobic attacks.
The South Africans who were having none of it, led by rapper, AKA, demanded an apology from Burnaboy or total cancellation of the event. AKA’s response in one tweet read ” One thing that has been particularly worrying is the silence from my own leadership, especially the department of arts and culture. It truly is up to us, the people, to solve our own problems. I have not been led, I have been left to lead.” In another tweet he wrote, “to be honest, the department owes YOU an apology for funding the concert in the first place.”
Last week, a group calling itself the Tshwane Entertainment Collective wrote a critical letter to the government over the concert, Times Live reported.
“Whoever may have deemed that the country needs a PR exercise of this nature would have done so largely as a result of the callous, misleading and unwarranted incitement by this very artist,” the Collective is quoted as saying.
“Not only did he spread falsehoods through his extensive platform, he literally incited violence and hate,” it added.
Announcing the cancellation of the concerts, Phambili Media said its decision came after the Tshwane Entertainment Collective’s call for a boycott and the “increasing threats of violence from other unfortunate segments of the public”. But the company did not specify what those threats were.
“The safety of all attendees, artists and crew comes first,” it added.
In what could be taken as a reaction to the news, AKA took to twitter to write “Hayi no. South Ahhh doesn’t play.”