My f*k, Mareliese, Steve Hofmeyr is running on empty

The race is on, one lucky – disaffected – DSTV subscriber could win themselves R10 000 by the first of next month, if they find the most innovative way to destroy their decoder, film it and send it to Steve Hofmeyr.

The Afrikaans singer is exercised by his growing alienation, most recently from the Ghoema music awards and now Multichoice’s announcement that it won’t air any content involving him. In response, Hofmeyr filmed himself phoning Multichoice to cancel his subscription saying ‘”MultiChoice is racist, state captured, friends with the Guptas and just boycotted an artist, Steve Hofmeyr”. 

He then took his decoder outside and drove over it with his bakkie, crushing it. Then he went to his roof and dismantled the satellite dish before throwing it to the ground. Then he challenged his followers to do the same.

The results have been impressively predictable on the Darwin Awards front: People shooting their decoders, setting fire to them on the braai or taking hammers to them and the dish. The underlying narrative is that Multichoice’s decision is the latest in a vindictive anti-Afrikaans vendetta, all anti-white and racist.

It’s nonsense. It’s also insulting. Not all Afrikaners are like Hofmeyr, any more than all black South Africans are like Julius Malema. Not all Afrikaans speakers are white either, most of them haven’t been since 2011. Multichoice made a choice, as did a bunch of other companies who had been sponsoring Afrikaans-cultural events which Hofmeyr was headlining, to distance themselves from him. 

No one has stopped Hofmeyr from spouting the views he does – even though they’re egregiously awful – because he has that right ironically under the ‘new’ South African constitution to express himself. In turn they have every right to distance themselves – and it’s got nothing to do with language or culture. It’s got everything to do with getting as far away as possible from someone who sounds more and more like a cross between Hendrik Verwoerd and Eugene Terre’Blanche.

The most fascinating question is how it all ended up here. Hofmeyr, despite the derision his youthful priapism earned picking up paternity suits in the platteland, remains a phenomenally gifted singer, actor, author, writer and poet. He used to be the only South African that could go toe to toe with the international acts when impresarios were looking to sell out the Sun City Superbowl with fans.

His politics – enlightened if not exactly liberal during apartheid – morphed from committed conservative about 12 years ago to the far right of Afriforum very quickly. These days he’s tantamount to an apartheid denialist – and a particularly boorish one at that.

It seems almost other-worldly to remember how he reached out to former president Jacob Zuma at in 2007, bringing him a bag of biltong and then inviting him to a braai. “Our black leaders don’t know how little they have to do to get us 100% behind them,” he told Beeld in March 2007. As they say in Afrikaans, en kyk hoe lyk ons nou? 

Spare a thought for the diehard dish destroyers though; My fok, Mareliese, how on earth do think they’re going to watch the World Cup now this year? Either of them?

Originally published by the Saturday Star on 11 May 2019.