MIA LINDEQUE: When will Afrikaners cut ties with Steve Hofmeyr?


I remember being a young girl watching the television drama series Agter Elke Man - dancing around the house to the theme song with my sister while my mother was busy cooking supper.

It was the late 1980s and Steve Hofmeyr played the role of Bruce Beyers, a charmer and attractive hero. Many young Afrikaans girls only dreamt of marrying someone like Bruce, the tall, blond man. But this dream was scattered in pieces when a big scandal hit the tabloid magazines: Hofmeyr had at least three children born out of wedlock. I can still hear my mother warning me - never marry a man like this - he's bad news.

She was right, he's still bad news, holding millions of Afrikaners hostage with his backward views of black people and the democratic South Africa.

Afrikaans-speaking people have had an ongoing love-hate relationship with Hofmeyr, but he lost the plot more than ten years ago when he started calling himself an activist for the group.

One event in particular which stood out for me was an interview he did with an international media organisation last year. Hofmeyr said: "I think black people must have a moment by themselves, to admit to certain things. I think in the last ten years that I have been an activist I have come across four black South Africans that have admitted that there is a problem in their ranks and that they have to fix it from the inside. Four, that is a damn disgrace! The other live in denial. They find something else as a scapegoat. They blame apartheid, they blame white people, they blame colonialism. They blame slavery even. So you must know, I wish we had so many outs, backdoors out as other people. I'm an Afrikaner, Boer Afrikaner. We don't use backdoors out. We take what we have and we make the best out of it, but I don't see that from the black people in South Africa."

In the week before South Africans go to the polls to vote for the country's sixth democratically elected government, the country is still grappling with whether to ban symbols and reminders of the old South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation had to turn to the court to ask for the old flag be banned from public display - while MultiChoice has just cut ties with the Afrikaans singer - taking a stance not to air his content or material that features him. Hofmeyr has positioned himself as a self-proclaimed Afrikaner activist, but to many white South Africans who are determined to build a non-racial and equal society, he has only been a thorn in their sides.

Why are Afrikaners not leading the process to pack away the old flag for good? Why are Afrikaners not reporting the Vicki Mombergs among themselves? Why are we just walking away in silence and not publicly calling them out?

As an artist, Hofmeyr has a huge platform that he uses to not only spew his own hatred, but to mobilise other Afrikaners around a political standpoint. That is unacceptable.

In 2014 Hofmeyr caused a stir when he sang Die Stem at a music festival. Two months ago two large sponsors of the Afrikaans Is Groot concert pulled out after widespread outcry on social media over Hofmeyr being a headliner at the event. But when will Afrikaners stop supporting the man who seems to be a reminder to the world - incorrectly so - that Afrikaans people are still not ready to live in a society where white people can acknowledge that they benefited from apartheid and work towards building a non-racial equal society.

In the 1980s Hofmeyr interpreted the role of a character who was seen as a hero, but as is the case with many TV stars, the character is a far stretch from who Hofmeyr is in real life years later. Without a stage, the Hofmeyr show will collapse. It's time Afrikaners use their voice to stop the likes of Hofmeyr holding the country back, as we all desperately try to wiggle free from the web of denialism.

Almost thirty years later, I'm happy to tell the 5-year old me, that I'm married to man who is the exact opposite of Hofmeyr.

Mia Lindeque is a reporter at Eyewitness News. Follow her on Twitter: @MiaLindeque