South African musicians and event organisers have objected to Burna Boy’s inclusion in the forthcoming anti-xenophobic concert “Africans Unite” concert in the country.
In the wake of the attacks in September, the Nigerian Afrobeats artist said he won’t set foot in South Africa unless the government “wakes the f*ck up and really performs a miracle“.
However, months after the attacks which claimed lives and properties and after Burna Boy’s emotional outburst, it was announced (and confirmed by him) that he would be performing in SA as part of the Africans Unite line-up which hopes to “unify all Africans and speak out against femicide”.
This is receiving a series of backlash as South Africans are not so pleased with him being a part of the concert. Circulating the internet is an open letter written by musicians and organisers under the umbrella of Tshwane Entertainment Collective, to the minister raising objections against the concert and calling for the department to pull its sponsorship of the event.
The group questioned the exclusion of artists and event organisers from Tshwane in the process, the lack of financial support for artists from the area, and claims that communities affected by xenophobia are located far from the areas where the concert will be held and cannot afford the ticket prices for the event.
However, it appears the chief concern was against Burna Boy’s inclusion, and the group labelled the event a “financial exercise to benefit the very artists who have our country in a negative light based on false claims”.
“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. Not only did he spread falsehoods through his extensive platform, he literally incited violence and hate,” the letter said of Burna Boy.
The department has however distanced itself from the concert and said that its logo had been used “erroneously” on posters advertising the event.
According to Tshisa Live, spokesperson Asanda Magaqa said: “The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture wishes to dispel the untrue information currently being spread on social media, that it is funding the Africans Unite Concert featuring the artist known as Burna Boy. It is unfortunate that the department’s logo was erroneously used on the poster advertising the event”.
Asanda said that the department had not allocated or granted funding for the event.
“The department wishes to reiterate that it has not allocated or granted any funding to the event in question and any reports to the contrary are entirely false.”
Meanwhile, Burna Boy has announced he will contribute a portion of the proceeds from the concert to the victims of xenophobic attacks.