Outcry over Steve Hofmeyr’s Cape Town shows


Steve Hofmeyr, who apologised to the LGBTIQ+ community for his queerphobic remarks in March, is facing more controversy over his upcoming concerts in Cape Town, with concerns raised about the City of Cape Town and the University of Cape Town (UCT) supporting these events.

Hofmeyr, who has also faced accusations of racism in the past, is scheduled to perform in two shows in Cape Town.

The first, co-sponsored by the city, is a tribute concert in memory of the late singer and songwriter Theuns Jordaan, set to take place on November 6 at the DHL Stadium. The second, also featuring several other artists, is “Hartklop In Die Kaap,” scheduled for December 29 on the UCT rugby field.

No responsibility for the artist lineup

Late last month, Johan de Villiers, Founder of the African-European Indaba, an organisation that monitors South African individuals and organisations suspected of racism, homophobia, and hate speech, wrote to UCT expressing his concern. He inquired if “the UCT Council had any objection to Hofmeyr performing on their grounds.”

In reply, the university said it could not be responsible for the performers at the event. UCT management stated that it “wishes to make it clear that the event in question is not a UCT event, but an event that is scheduled to be hosted on the UCT campus by an external party.”

Furthermore, it emphasised that “UCT management is not in any way involved in the programme for events hosted by external parties on campus, nor does management necessarily align with the hosting of external parties or any views held or expressed by any participant.”

In July, UCT faced a major protest after it refused to cancel a lecture by queerphobic professor Patrick Lumumba that was hosted on its campus to mark the EFF’s tenth anniversary.

The City of Cape Town, which will provide municipal services and the venue for the Theuns Jordaan concert, will also not withdraw its support for that show.

It told IOL, “While the City is a sponsor in these events, it cannot dictate to event organisers who to invite to participate or perform at their events.”

Can Steve Hofmeyr be forgiven?

In March, Hofmeyr agreed to a settlement, including an apology and a R100,000 payout, in the Equality Court in an anti-LGBTIQ+ hate speech case lodged by OUT LGBT Well-being and the SA Human Rights Commission.

Sibonelo Ncanana, the Human Rights Coordinator for OUT, expressed his “concern” that the City of Cape Town was supporting the Theuns Jordaan concert. While acknowledging Hofmeyr’s apology, he pointed out that Hofmeyr “did not come to the apology by realising that he was wrong; we had to involve the Equality Court.”

Ncanana also noted that the DA, which runs the City of Cape Town, has been opposed to the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, in part over fears that it could restrict freedom of speech.

In 2019, MultiChoice announced it would no longer broadcast any content featuring Hofmeyr or support any event in which he appears because “his views are not aligned with our values.”

The situation raises questions about whether the LGBTIQ+ community should accept Steve Hofmeyr’s apology as genuine and conclusive. Can he be forgiven, and if not, what will it take? And can this apology possibly be viewed independently of other accusations of him making racist comments, his “apartheid nostalgia” and support for right-wing causes?

This controversy also highlights a discussion about the responsibility of organisations and institutions – especially those that are funded by taxpayers – to disassociate themselves from figures who promote hate through their actions and statements.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend