Guest Column

Slandering Black Coffee for visiting Israel is hypocritical. Here's why

2018-04-05 10:56
DJ Black Coffee. (File)

DJ Black Coffee. (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Charisse Zeifert

Black Coffee is hot. He is sizzling. And he has joined the ranks of world-class international artists who have braved intimidation and bullying, and performed in Israel. The reaction in some quarters has been vicious. Fellow musicians, political parties and the BDS have been particularly vitriolic, even more so than usual.


Is it because DJ Black Coffee - real name Nkosinathi Maphumulo - is visiting Israel for the third time, despite the invective directed at him by the usual suspects the last time he went?

Or could it be because he is one of the most prominent electronic and house music producers in Africa, and the boycott brigade are afraid that others might follow in his wake?

Many thousands of South Africans visit Israel all the time. They do so for numerous reasons, ranging from religious pilgrimages, education, cultural, historical, business or family reunions.

And looking at musicians alone, Israel has hosted hundreds of international stars over the past few years. While some certainly gave in to the intimidation, others like Radiohead and Nic (Nick Cave) simply hit back. The latter was quoted as saying that he wanted to take "a principled stand against anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians. So really you could say, in a way, that the BDS made me play Israel". 

There are lot of different reasons why artists perform in Israel. They may be oblivious to the politics or recognise how blatantly the nature of Israel has been misrepresented by bogus 'human rights' activists. They might genuinely support and even have love for Israel, or else they simply believe that music is a unifying factor and builds bridges.  

Of course Israel has problems and faults as well. There is nothing wrong with criticising it for this. Really! But the current way it is being done goes beyond rational discourse. The present state of near hysteria is fuelled by hatred that goes beyond normal criticism of a country.

Israel is at war with its neighbours. It has been since 1948 when the UN recognised the right of two people to the land: Jews and Palestinians. Both were granted a state. Jews accepted, and Israel was born; the Palestinians rejected and turned to violence. In the past 70 years the situation has taken many wrong turns (both sides are to blame), but there is still no peace. 

South Africa has problems too, but we have overcome them. Black Coffee is one of the most inspiring examples of talent, hard work and motivation. Born during apartheid, he has risen to international status and is an ambassador for our music, which he shares across the globe.

He is an inspiration to millions and represents the best that South Africa has to offer. And yet, this week, some are willing to slander, boycott and malign him in the most personal and spiteful way. All because he did what thousands of people do every day: visit Israel.

This is hypocritical. The ANC talks a good talk when it comes to nation building. There can be no talk of nation building in this country when Israel, who many South Africans support and love, is constantly being vilified. And there can be no talk of peace when the ANC purports to believe the insane invective of Israel’s detractors.

South Africa is uniquely placed to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Music has the ability to unify. Black Coffee has the potential to be our ambassador. Instead, he is being made an example of so that others who might otherwise have followed his example will think twice about doing so. It is a typical BDS tactic.

Black Coffee is home-brewed (get it?). He remains hot and sizzling, but the attack on him has left an unnecessary bitter taste. I take my hat off to him for his bravery. I hope he knows that he has thousands of fans out there who applaud him every step of the way. He continues to be an inspiration.

While those who are so vicious in attacking Black Coffee are trying to make an example out of him as a warning to those who dare to disobey them, he will always be an example of the talent that South Africa has to offer. I have no doubt that in Israel, judging by his sold-out Tel Aviv set, they want some more Black Coffee and are saying "Come back and see me once again," to quote from his incredible 2015 track, "We Dance Again".

I have a feeling that Black Coffee and many of our brilliant South African artists will be in Israel again.  

- Charisse Zeifert is head of communications at the South African Jewish Board of Deputies.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    black coffee  |  israel  |  palestine


Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.