The Ghoema Music Awards took place last night without a glitch, despite threats of boycotting the ceremony by Afrikaans artists following the removal of Hofmeyr as nominee.
The eighth annual kykNET Ghoema Music Awards took place on Wednesday evening, 17 April 2019, at the Sun Arena in Pretoria without so much as a glitch. This despite several Afrikaans music artists threatening to boycott the ceremony after the awards removed Steve Hofmeyr’s name as a nominee.
Although MultiChoice insisted on removing Hofmeyr from the awards, the CEO of the Ghoema Music Trust, Heidi Edeling, asked that the controversy not overshadow the hard work of other artists.
“MultiChoice is the main sponsor of the Ghoema Music Awards. An ultimatum was made to the Ghoema Trust by MultiChoice to withdraw the nomination of Die Land (The Land) music video featuring Steve Hofmeyr as the company didn’t want to be associated with him. MultiChoice projects must align with the values of the company.
“Coleske Artists was approached and informed of MultiChoice’s ultimatum. The option was given to Coleseke Artists to withdraw the nomination. Coleske Artists were also put in direct contact with MultiChoice in an effort to resolve the situation amicably. No final feedback was received, and the Ghoema Trust was left with no other option but to make an urgent decision. The trustees took a majority decision to exclude the video from the competition,” Edeling said.
MultiChoice, which is the main sponsor of the awards, forced the awards to remove Hofmeyr’s music video for the song Die Land (The Land), which features Steve Hofmeyr, Bok van Blerk, Bobby van Jaarsveld, Jay, and Touch of Class. The call came after Hofmeyr had, in February 2019, tweeted a photo of himself and the old South African flag and captioned it, “Good rains. Found a waterproof roof. Mooi ne (Translation: Pretty, right?).” In the past, Hofmeyr has been known to make provocative and racially-charged statements, which has seen other big sponsors like Pick ‘n Pay and Land Rover withdrawing from events that had his involvement.
Multichoice Group Executive Corporate Affairs, Joe Hesgu, explained why the company took a stand.
“We are committed to the building of a non-racial society and strongly condemn any acts of discrimination. MultiChoice is proud of its support for Afrikaans, not only our investment in content for our DStv platforms, but also our sponsorships of festivals, events and the broader Afrikaans performing arts sector.”
Joe added, “Our commitment to Afrikaans and all local languages will not change. It has come to our attention that Steve Hofmeyr was nominated for a Ghoema Music Award in the category for Best Music video. We have requested that Steve Hofmeyr not form part of the event that we sponsor as his views are not aligned with our values. We welcome a society where freedom of speech is celebrated, however we take a stand against racism.”
Not only did artists threaten to boycott the awards, but Hofmeyr fans also took to Twitter express their feelings about his exclusion from the awards. Twitter user JC MacFarlane said, “I hereby announce my withdrawal of support from the Ghoemas. I cannot support this unfair and discriminatory treatment. All the best to you.”