BREAKING NEWS: Hip Hop performer cancels Hilton Arts Festival gig – in protest

16 September 2011

Several calls have been made, the first was by the organization, Church Land Program, to boycott the upcoming Hilton Arts Festival. The calls for boycott come on the grounds of the festival's hosting of three Israeli plays and also accepting funding and support from the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria and the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Iain EWOK Robinson, the Durban based Hip Hop star has cancelled his performance at this year's Hilton Arts Festival - in protest.

Below are parts of Iain EWOK Robinson's letter that was sent last night to the organizers of the Hilton Arts Festival explaining why he is cancelling his scheduled gig, “Rapped In truth”.


“It is with great difficulty and not without any sadness that I must announce that I will not be performing my show "Rapped In Truth" at this years festival.
“Please believe that this decision was not an easy one to arrive at, and I do not intend it to be a personal judgment in any way on any of you as individuals. 
“The reality of the situation is this: 
“I have been contacted today by various Palestinian solidarity organizations who have asked for the following action to be observed. 
“As a signatory of the South African Artists Against Apartheid declaration (www.southafricanartistsagainstapartheid.com), in support of the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of the Apartheid Israeli Government, I cannot in good conscience willingly participate in any event that enjoys the support and patronage of the Israeli Government in any form. I believe that this is an endorsement of the criminal acts of oppression and human rights abuses consistently perpetrated by this entity against the Palestinian people. 
“It was never my intention to pull out at such a late stage in your preparations, and please believe that I mean no disrespect. However, the full weight of my intended involvement and its ramifications has only become clear to me in the details provided by these organizations today. Given this new knowledge, and after participating in the presentation to Hilton College about the role of Arts in Society, my conscience will not allow anything other then for me choose to lead by example. 
“I feel it is my responsibility as a South African who enjoys the democratic rights that were fought for so valiantly by my parents generation of anti-apartheid activists, to participate in the similar Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Apartheid Israel.  
“Freedom for Palestine is freedom for us all. 
“Yours, with respect, 
“Iain EWOK Robinson"
The South African Artists Against Apartheid collective warmly welcomes this decision and salutes Iain EWOK Robinson for his clear and principled position.

ISSUED BY JONI BARNARD ON BEHALF OF THE SA ARTISTS AGAINST APARTHEID COLLECTIVE