Nathi Mthethwa in the firing line as group fumes over Burna Boy headlining SA concert

Burna Boy encourages fellow Nigerians to go back home
Burna Boy encourages fellow Nigerians to go back home

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu – popularly known by his stage name Burna Boy – is making his way to South Africa.

The Nigerian superstar finds himself heading to the country just two months after he tweeted that he would never set foot in it again.

On November 23 and 24, the “On the Low” hitmaker will be performing at the Africans Unite Concert at the Hillcrest Quarry and at the Sun Arena in Pretoria. According to the organisers, the event was put together to unify all Africans and speak out against femicide.

Following the xenophobic attacks in South Africa that sparked an outcry in September, Burna Boy took to Twitter to announce that he would never perform in the country again until the government wakes up and performs a “miracle”.

“I have not set foot in SA since 2017. And I will NOT EVER go to South Africa again for any reason until the SOUTH AFRICAN government wakes the f*#k up and really performs a miracle because I don’t know how they can even possibly fix this,” Burna Boy tweeted.

It seems like the concert he will be headlining alongside fellow Nigerian Jidenna and South African rapper Kwesta is all the miracle Ogula needed.

Taking to Twitter to promote the concert, Burna Boy said: “The first of many! Part of the proceeds will be donated to the victims of Xenophobic attacks by me! I really hope we can all keep contributing in our own way to make the world a better and safer place for each other. #Africansunite, it’s bigger than all of us.”

But a group known as the Tshwane Youth Collective – led by Katlego Malatji – objected to Burna Boy headlining the concert.

They penned a letter to Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa claiming amongst other things 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 in the statement released on Monday.

Burna Boy, during the same Twitter rant in which he promised to never set foot in South Africa, tweeted: “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 has since deleted the tweeted but the collective still believes the government should not be associated with or funding concert headlined by Burna Boy.

Mthethwa’s department released a statement on Tuesday seeking to clarify the issue surrounding funding and supporting the event.

“It is unfortunate that the department’s logo was erroneously used in advertising the event. However, this notwithstanding, the department wishes to reiterate that it has not allocated or granted any funding to the event in question,” the department said in the statement.

The event organisers, Phambili Media SA, in statement released on Tuesday said that all communications announcing the event were done with inclusion of the department.

“The department of sport, arts and culture is not providing any financial support to Phambili Media or its event partners, Playnetwork Africa to stage the event.

“With recent xenophobic events that have taken place in South Africa, Phambili media reached out to the department to encourage all Africans to speak with one voice, through music, to drive the goal of uniting our nations.”

But the collective is not having any of it.

On Wednesday they released a statement rejecting the department’s response to their letter.

“We reject the disingenuous and misleading statement by the department with the contempt that it deserves. We call on the MEC of economic development and the premier in Gauteng to ensure that any and all funding support endorsement by Gauteng Tourism or any state entity be withdrawn from the Africa Unite Concert immediately,” they said.

The collective also called for President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend Mthewthwa pending an investigation into the Mzansi Golden Economy Funding Program and to institute measures to ensure that local artists and event organisers are supported, funded and prioritised.

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