Artists hit back at xenophobia

A number of South African musicians have been affected by the recent outbreak of xenophobic violence in South Africa that has left several dead and many more displaced.

AKA. Photo: Facebook
AKA. Photo: Facebook

According to a recent article published in South Africa’s Sunday Tribune, big names such as Kelly Khumalo, Big Nuz, Black Coffee, Brickz, Winnie Khumalo, Ringo Madlingozi and Cassper Nyovest have all had their international shows affected by calls for boycotts against South Africa.

UK-based company Elite Promotions revealed on its Facebook page that Kelly’s UK show, scheduled to open on 1 May, had been postponed in solidarity with the innocent victims of xenophobia in South Africa. Big Nuz and Black Coffee have reportedly pulled out of their shows in Zimbabwe and Mozambique respectively. Brickz also had his UK tour suspended. He was due in London last week.

Organisers of the Green Concert, a festival supporting environmental awareness in Harare, Zimbabwe scheduled for 15 May, were threatened by a boycott from locals if Ringo Madlingozi and Winnie Khumalo performed at the event. Winnie Khumalo told the Sunday Tribune it was “unfair to be punished for other people’s actions”. She read about the boycott on social media, and was unsure if she and Madlingozi would perform at the event if the attacks continued. “We are deeply saddened at what is taking place in our country, and as artists we are trying our best to create awareness of these horrid acts on foreigners. There will be a song released soon in support of the anti-xenophobia campaign. Proceeds will go to victims and families affected,” she said.

Artists unite against xenophobia

Speaking to the Sunday Tribune, hip-hop artist Cassper Nyovest this week encouraged South African acts to voice their stance against xenophobia: “We can understand where people are coming from when they threaten to boycott South African shows, as their loved ones have been targets of these attacks. However, it should not be taken out on artists who have been vocal against the issue.”

Despite receiving numerous boycott threats in Zimbabwe, Nyovest has declared that his show in the country will go ahead this weekend as planned. The rapper has also pledged to donate all proceeds of his show to survivors of xenophobic attacks

Many South African artists are using social media to urge an end to the violence, along with other celebrities and sports stars. The ruling ANC recently hosted a campaign entitled ‘South Africans united against Xenophobia’ featuring Yvonne Chaka Chaka, AKA, Mi Casa and Arthur Mafokate.

Some artists have recorded tracks with anti-xenophobia messages. A number of local celebrities worked together to release a song about xenophobia titled 'No More' featuring artists such as Mi Casa frontman J-Something, Kwesta, Proverb, Brickz and more. 

A similar project with wider regional input is a track by South Africa-based, Zimbabwean duo Epic Minds recently released the hip-hop collaboration ‘Unity’, featuring artists from all over the region: Prinston, Flavour B and M’chine (South Africa), Cashbid (Zimbabwe), Sue Anique (Uganda), Sham Sila (Tanzania) and Shishi (Zambia).



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