Local musos hit back at Fifa

STUNG by being left out of the line-up of the Fifa concert a day before the World Cup kicks off, local artists yesterday announced a parallel free concert for locals.

While international visitors and well-heeled South Africans will be boogying at Orlando Stadium on June 10, the free concert is scheduled for Dobsonville Stadium a few kilometres away.

Mabutho "Kid" Sithole, president of the Creative Workers Union, told Sowetan yesterday that the exclusion of local artists from the Fifa concert was a clear sign that "there is nothing African about this so-called African spectacle".

Poet Mzwakhe Mbuli called it a "cultural desert".

Sithole said: "If they (Fifa and the LOC) are serious about the cultural aspect of the World Cup, why not engage us from the start."

The larger-than-life union leader questioned the benefits that South Africans would enjoy from hosting the soccer showpiece.

"Where is the empowerment element when an LA (Los Angeles) company is brought in to organise our event? Where is the skills transfer and what about the BEE component? These are fundamental questions we are asking," Sithole said.

In a statement earlier the union called on hawkers, taxi drivers, street vendors and all South Africans to "fight the evil of Fifa's and (the) 2010 LOC's exclusion of cultural workers from the concert and other related cultural events scheduled for the World Cup."

South Africans were also asked to boycott the Fifa concert in favour of the "people's concert".

Former kwaito artist Doc Shebeleza said the union was planning two events - a prayer meeting to wish the tournament well on June 5 followed by the main concert on June 10.

"Details have not been finalised but we are expecting about 50 musicians to perform at the two events. There will be a number of South African and African artists," Shebeleza said.

Musicians such as Solly Moholo, Letta Mbulu, the Soul Brothers and kwaito artists are to be approached.