Toyota is out and MTN still negotiating as Afrikaans is Groot asks its fans for support

Steve Hofmeyr. (Gallo Images)
Steve Hofmeyr. (Gallo Images)

UPDATE, 26 MARCH, 21:40: Media24 follows Toyota as it also ends partnership with Afrikaans is Groot

Cape Town – With its main sponsors cutting ties and relooking its connections with Afrikaans is Groot, the local music concert is having to turn to its audience members for financial support.

In collaboration with Solidarity Helping Hand, AIG has launched a #JouAIG (Your Afrikaans is Groot) campaign in which "the public will be the main sponsor" of the event.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Centurion on Tuesday afternoon attended by controversial Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr, local singer Karlien van Jaarsveld, and VIA's Die Kontrak winner, Demi Lee Moore.

Steve's involvement in the show saw the concert losing support from sponsors after backlash from the public. 

But the organisers are undeterred with Barry Pretorius, director and producer of AIG, confirming at a press conference that Steve Hofmeyr "is going nowhere and will be part of the show".

"This is your Afrikaans is Groot. Nobody, not even the sponsors, can tell us what to do. You, the public, are the only ones that can decide," Barry said. 

Steve himself addressed the media saying he "was willing to step down at one stage" but was grateful that the organisers wanted him to stay involved. "I'm not a racist, and I don't have hate for any other race. We're a community and our doors are open to everyone," Steve said. 

Afrikaans is Groot

(PRESS CONFERENCE: From left to right - Singer Demi Lee Moore, singer Steve Hofmeyr, AIG director and producer Barry Pretorius,  Helping Hand's Ernst Vorster and Hannes Noëth, singer Karlien van Jaarsveld. Photo: Supplied)


A statement published on the Solidarity website on Tuesday stated that the "public is and will always be the main sponsor of AIG".

"That is why AIG and Helping Hand have launched the #JouAIG campaign to place emphasis on the ownership that the public has on the AIG experience. The campaign is an initiative by the board of directors and artists of AIG and Helping Hand to give the public as individuals, groups or businesses the opportunity to become official sponsors of this popular series of concerts."

An exclusive show, titled #JouAIG, will take place on 28 November 2019 where 6 000 tickets will be made available at R800 each. Ticketholders of this concert will be stepping in as the main sponsor of the show. Profits of the night will also be donated to Helpende Hand, according to the statement.

Every main sponsor's name will be displayed on the screens at the shows and will also appear in a special AIG 2019 programme. Tickets for the #JouAIG concert will go on sale from 29 March at 10:00 at Computicket.

The press statement encourages fans to "pledge their support to AIG artists like Steve Hofmeyr, Riana, Jay, Demi Lee, and Karlien" by joining the campaign. 


MTN, who has been a sponsor of AIG since 2015, previously announced that it would no longer support the event due to the involvement of controversial Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr.

"MTN has been reviewing its bouquet of sponsorships and its association with AIG, which began in 2015. MTN raised its concerns with AIG last month and we have taken the decision to cut all ties with this event. Through its brand and network, MTN seeks to connect South Africans and bring people together and it’s unfortunate that by persisting with Hofmeyr, AIG is no longer helping serve that objective," Mthokozisi Ndlovu, MTN Public Relations Specialist, told Channel24.

At Tuesdays press conference Barry Pretorius said MTN is still involved in the concert.

Channel24 reached out to MTN for clarification. 

Jacqui O'Sullivan, executive of corporate affairs, said: "MTN met with AIG on Monday to discuss the future of the MTN sponsorship. I am aware an AIG announcement is due today but not the contents thereof. Our focus remains on reshaping MTN’s support of the growth and development of Afrikaans through a sponsorship vehicle that does not include Steve Hofmeyr.  We will make an announcement on the sponsorship once the revised approach has been agreed upon and approved by all parties involved." 


Meanwhile Toyota, who was at first reluctant to withdraw from the concert, have now confirmed that they are no longer a sponsor. 

In a statement to the media Toyota said: "Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) and the organisers of Afrikaans is Groot (AIG) have amicably agreed to discontinue their sponsorship association as of March 2019 – which also marked the end of the 2018 AIG season.Both parties have honoured their contractual agreements since 2015.

"The partnership was mutually beneficial to both parties.As an organisation that is fully committed to the development of arts and culture, TSAM will continue sponsoring other creative and musical events that promote diversity and social cohesion in the country. TSAM remains committed to the social and economic development of a peaceful and harmonious South Africa."


In 2015 both Land Rover and Pick n Pay pulled their sponsorship with AIG due to Steve's involvement in the show and his racial comments.

Steve, known for his extremely provocative statements about race and right-wing comments, is featured front-and-centre on the poster for the November and December show of AIG.

In 2014 Steve tweeted: "Sorry to offend but in my books Blacks were the architects of Apartheid. Go figure." The shocking tweet caused massive uproar and backlash.

Since then the singer has made a profusion of similar statements which has seen several festivals cutting ties with him and brands distancing themselves from him.

Just last month Steve tweeted a photo of himself with the old South African flag with the caption: "Good rains. Found a waterproof roof. Mooi ne." (Translation: Pretty, right?)

Afrikaans is Groot

(SPONSORS: A  poster with the logo of all the sponsors of the concert as it appears on the AIG Facebook page.)


Other sponsors listed on the marketing material include Laeveld Agrochem, virseker, and LFP Group. The logo's for Media24's Netwerk24, Huisgenoot, VIA, and Beeld also appear on the marketing material for AIG.

The editors of each of the Media24 publications told Channel24 they are not involved in the creative process of the show and will continue their partnership. (Read their full statements here)

Channel24 is part of a division of Media24.

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