Burna Boy's SA shows cancelled amid outcry

Nigerian artist Burna Boy will not be appearing in SA.
Nigerian artist Burna Boy will not be appearing in SA.
Image: Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET

Just days before controversial Nigerian artist Burna Boy was set to take to the stage in SA, organisers have announced the artist has been withdrawn and concerts in Cape Town and Tshwane cancelled.

In a media statement on Wednesday, organisers said that after extensive engagement with Burna Boy’s management team, they had decided to withdraw the Nigerian artist from the concert and cancel its shows.

They said the decision to cancel the shows came after warnings of a shutdown from a group of artists and event organisers under the umbrella of Tshwane Entertainment Collective.

“The decision to cancel the Africans Unite Concert comes after the call from the Tshwane Entertainment Collective to boycott the Africans Unite concert in Tshwane. With 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.

“We then decided to cancel the concert. The safety of all attendees, artists and crew comes first.”

Burna Boy's inclusion on the line-up was widely criticised after he took to social media in September to urge black foreigners living in SA to defend and protect themselves against xenophobic attacks. In a now deleted tweet, he also told rapper AKA to beef up his security, before giving him the middle finger. 

He promised to never set foot in SA again until the government “wakes the f*ck up and  really performs a miracle”. However, a month later, he was announced as part of the Africans Unite line-up to “unify all Africans and speak out against femicide”.

While hundreds have called for the show to be cancelled and the artist boycotted until he apologised for his remarks, EFF leader Julius Malema and socialite Babalwa Mneno defended the star.

Burna Boy said nothing would stop him performing in SA and rubbished claims that he had misled people about the xenophobic attacks. He also refused to apologise.

The concert's organisers stood by their decision to include Burna Boy on the show's line-up.

“As one of the 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.

“As organisers of the Africans Unite Concert, we continue to advocate for unity and peace. Moreover, we condemn any form of discrimination, violence or aggressive behaviour towards any person due to their gender or nationality.”

Those who have bought tickets for the concert have been urged to call the Computicket call centre on 0861 916 8000 for a full refund to the card used for payment.

Tickets bought at Computicket or Shoprite must be returned to any of the outlets for a full refund. Webtickets offers refunds through its website.


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