The controversial Africa Unite concert has been cancelled just two days before it was set to unite Africans.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the organisers, Phambili media and Play Network Africa said that following “extensive” engagement with Burna Boy’s management team, they have decided to withdraw Burna Boy from the Africans Unite Concert.
The organisers said that the decision to cancel the concert came after calls from the Tshwane Entertainment Collective to boycott the concert.
Nigerian superstar Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu – popularly known by his stage name Burna Boy – tweeted in September that he would never set foot in South Africa again following the xenophobic attacks.
He also threatened South African musician AKA on Twitter, saying: “And @akaworldwide I knew you were retarded but I didn’t know it had gotten this bad. Next time I see you you better have big security bro, On Gambos Grave ur gunna need it.”
He deleted the tweeted but the collective objected to Burna Boy headlining the concert.
They penned a letter to Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa claiming that the ministry should protect local artists.
“The state has invited guests who have publicly committed themselves to physically abusing our artists when they come to South Africa,” the collective said.
The organisers announced today that both legs of the concert which were set to take place on November 23 at Hillcrest Quarry, Cape Town and November 24 at Sun Arena, Pretoria have now been cancelled.
“The increasing threats of violence from other unfortunate segments of the public and without any government intervention, Phambili Media and Play Network Africa were prompted to take the threats and warnings seriously, as the safety of all artists and attendees could not be guaranteed,” the organisers said.
The Tshwane Youth Collective – led by Katlego Malatji – objected to Burna Boy headlining the concert.
The organisers say that they stand behind the initial decision to include Burna Boy in the lineup.
“As one of artists at the centre stage of the xenophobic attacks uproar, we saw fit to engage him to be a part of the Africans Unite campaign that aims to ultimately change the current negative narrative to that of solidarity and unity. It seems we have failed in this regard,” the organisers said.
Speaking to City Press on Wednesday Malatji said it is unfortunate that the concert had to be cancelled.
“An opportunity was missed by Burna Boy and government to facilitate true cohesion. We never said there’s no xenophobia, in SA. We just wanted Burna Boy to apologise for the remarks he made during the xenophobic attacks earlier this year, Malatji said.
“Our fight was not against Burna Boy, our main fight was against the department of arts and culture and the minister. We will be laying a complaint with the Public Protector to look into how the ministry and the minister handle their funding,” Malatji continued.