Some artistes in South Africa under the aegis of Tshwane Collective have sent a petition to the minister of arts and culture, kicking against the inclusion of Burna Boy in two concerts scheduled for 23 and 24 November.
The Africans Unite concerts, a response to recent xenophobia in the country is organised by Play Network Africa, based in Nigeria, in partnership with Phambili Media SA and appears to enjoy the support of South Africa’s department of arts and culture. It will feature, along with Burna Boy, artistes such as Kwesa and Jidenna. The first concert will hold at Hillcrest Quarry in Cape Town on 23 November and the second at Sun Arena, Time Square in Pretoria.
But the Tshwane Collective questioned the exclusion of local artists and Burna Boy’s invitation to perform at the concert, accusing the African Giant of inciting hatred against South Africa, in the wake of the xenophobic attacks.
“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. He further promised to inflict his own violence on locals before giving your government an ultimatum which you seem to have received and succumbed to”, the group said in the letter to Nathi Mthethwa, minister of art and culture.
Truly, in a series of tweets in September, Burna Boy urged black foreigners living in SA to defend and protect themselves against xenophobic attackers. In a now deleted tweet, he also told SA rapper AKA to beef up his security, before giving him the middle finger.
He promised to never set foot in SA again until the government “wakes the f*ck up and really performs a miracle”.
Burna Boy, unaware of the protest, announced on 9 November he will contribute a portion of the proceeds from the concert to the victims of xenophobic attacks.
“I really hope we can all keep contributing in our own way to make the world a better and safer place for each other. Africans unite, it’s bigger than all of us,” he wrote on Twitter.
The department of culture has however distanced itself from the concert and said that it’s logo had been used “erroneously” on posters advertising the event, Times Live reported.
“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,” spokesperson Asanda Magaqa told TshisaLIVE.
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.”