Black Coffee in row over 'apartheid' Israel gig

DJ Black Coffee says he will play anywhere, including Israel, so that he can feed his family. / Veli Nhlapo
DJ Black Coffee says he will play anywhere, including Israel, so that he can feed his family. / Veli Nhlapo

Black Coffee remains defiant in the face of a Twitter storm following his performance in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Saturday.

He took to Twitter to thank supporters in Israel for The Tripping, an annual event that kicks off spring in Israel and that he headlined.

What followed was a flurry of messages, some condemning and others supporting his presence in Israel, which has been under pressure from the international community over its occupation of Palestinian territories.

Yesterday, the blue-eyed boy of South African dance music tweeted that he was ready to put his life on the line. He wrote: "Like everyone else I have rights and free will and no, Black Coffee is not a political party ... I work as an entertainer to feed my family. To sum it up ... I'll take a bullet for my family."

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu was on the attack: "That Israel is killing innocent Palestinians and continuing with the occupation doesn't matter? A DJ from SA, a country that benefitted due to international solidarity must just go [sic] to Israel for a party and we black people celebrate such? Where's the political and moral consciousness?

"South Africa's isolation and the academic and cultural boycott are part of the reasons apartheid capitulated to the call for freedom. It is morally and politically insensitive for DJ Black Coffee to just go on partying in apartheid Israel, whilst it kills and oppresses innocent people."

Kwara Kekana of the Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) Movement said it was not the first time Black Coffee had performed in Israel. She said he had been urged not to cross the picket line.

"He's well aware of the issues. It's just shocking and disappointing that he's taken the decision not to be in solidarity with Palestine people who are oppressed. You'd expect more from a South African artist."

Fans have been polarised over the issue and Twitter was set ablaze with attacks and counter attacks.

TheGifted wrote: "You're a great artist and you have reached a level in your career where you can pick and choose your gigs ... missing one show wouldn't have put a dent on your bank account. You can't defend this."

Kizobantu lamented: "Nah mfowethu, black South Africans more than most people in the world should be sympathetic to the Palestinian course [sic] and condemn Israel for its apartheid and occupation of Palestine. We must not disregard human rights and ubuntu in the name of entertainment and money."

Thee_AmandaGasa sprang to his defence: "... We have so many things to worry about yet they find it hard to deal with real issues so they tackle an innocent man making money for his family."

Hody Jones noted: "Dino Ndlovu played soccer in Israel and you lot were quiet."