Arthur Mafokate snubs Metros

2014-03-02 10:00

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Kwaito pioneer Arthur Mafokate pulled out of performing in the 13th Metro FM Music Awards at Durban’s International Convention Centre last night because, he says, the show’s producers did not respect him as an artist.

“I’ll be going to the awards. It's the performance I’m boycotting. I don’t know how I’m going to find a seat because I wasn’t invited, like last year. But I’ll find one,” he told City Press hours ahead of the awards.

Mafokate’s decision to boycott the show, which celebrates 20 years of kwaito, was clinched when Metro FM refused to allow him to use Chomee as a backing singer.

But it’s part of a bigger gripe he has with Metro, who, he says, refuses to play his music.

“They expected me to do the Durban performance alone and use their dancers in a sequence they decided on and said I couldn’t change … And it’s less than a minute of the show and I can’t even express myself in the manner that works for me?”

Mafokate says the event’s producers had not even asked him to perform his own work – despite landmark tracks like Kaffir – over the 20 years being celebrated.

Instead, they wanted him to perform a track by his brother Makhendlas, who died tragically in 1998.

“They asked me to do my brother’s song, Iminwe, even though I performed it at the Metros three years ago. But I agreed eventually.”

However, says the 999 Records owner, when he got to ­rehearsals last Saturday, he was told how to perform it.

“I said let’s do it the way he was performing it. They said no. I left rehearsals.”

When he then asked for Chomee to perform with him, he was sent a message saying she couldn’t.

“Some people were apparently unhappy because they said she was not part of kwaito history. Chomee has been in our videos since she was seven, since 1997…”

The event’s organisers had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to print yesterday, saying they were waiting for Metro FM’s station manager to approve a statement.

Arthur told City Press that he may be snubbing the Metro show, but the urban music station has been snubbing him for years.

“I wasn’t invited [last year], but yet I won an award. I happened to be there in the audience so I went to accept it.”

The award was for best digital downloaded song for his track Hlokoloza.

“A song not ever played on Metro, not even once,” he said. “They don’t play my songs and they won’t say why when I ask them. It hurts you as an artist. And if they can do that to me, what about young artists? All they want is to use you to make money.”

The artist refused to be drawn into rumours that he was annoyed because of Metro’s heavy rotation of tracks from rival labels like Kalawa Jazmee.

“I’m going to Durban,” he said cheerfully. “I’ll find a way to get in.”

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