Steve Hofmeyr withdraws from Afrikaans is Groot concert

Several sponsors distanced themselves from the concert featuring Steve Hofmeyr.
Several sponsors distanced themselves from the concert featuring Steve Hofmeyr.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lisa Hnatowicz

After months of controversy and boycotts over his inclusion on the line-up of music concert Afrikaans is Groot, singer Steve Hofmeyr has confirmed that he has withdrawn from the show.

In a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday, he said he had met with concert organisers and had stepped aside to ensure the event's future success.

I do this in the interests of my colleagues and our big production team. I understand the enormous challenges in terms of infrastructure and costs and what the loss of income would mean to my fellow artists.”

Hofmeyr told TshisaLIVE last month that he offered to withdraw from the concert, but was “contractually bound” to perform.

His participation in the event was thrown back into the spotlight in August when Sun International said in a statement to TshisaLIVE that it was legally bound to host the event at its Times Square venue in Pretoria.

However, it voiced concern about Hofmeyr's participation and asked organisers to reconsider his inclusion in the show.

In his statement, Hofmeyr, said the company would “refuse us their venue in the Cape if I don't make the decision” and expressed anger at sponsors “dictating” to culture and arts.

“It will always grieve me that money, sponsors and political narrative dictate our culture and our arts today. I don't know that language and I have no need to ever learn it. I will not bow my knee to the haters of acquittal, and no boycott will make me silent about my people's grievances.”

Several major sponsors pulled out of the concert in March after a 2014 tweet from the musician resurfaced on social media. In it, Steve said black people were the “architects of apartheid”.

Media24 and Toyota SA announced that they had ended their relationship with the concert over Hofmeyr's participation. This followed a similar announcement from MTN, while Coca-Cola distanced itself from the show.

Afrikaans is Groot organisers announced that Hofmeyr would remain part of the concert and, in the midst of the boycotts, would turn to its supporters for financial assistance, launching a #JouAIG campaign, where the public would be the “main sponsor”.