Chester Missing questions sponsorship of 'apartheid denialist'

Conrad Koch/Chester Missing. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Conrad Koch/Chester Missing. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Supermarket group Pick n Pay and Land Rover found themselves the subject of a war on Thursday over whether they should be sponsoring an Afrikaans music festival at which Steve Hofmeyr will perform.

This followed a column in The Times by ventriloquist and comedian Conrad Koch, the man behind Chester Missing, titled “Dear white supremacists…”, in which he questioned the retailer and Land Rover sponsoring the “Afrikaans is Groot” festival.

Hofmeyr recently had a sponsored bakkie withdrawn by Williams Hunt in Port Elizabeth after he tweeted that in his opinion black people were the architects of apartheid.

Williams Hunt said it had received calls urging it to withdraw the bakkie meant for use during the singer’s Port Elizabeth gigs, after somebody started a campaign. The company wanted to remain neutral and Hofmeyr had to hand the bakkie back a day earlier than planned. 

On Thursday, Pick n Pay responded to Kock’s call with a terse: “Pick n Pay’s reputation for publicly and strongly opposing racism speaks for itself. “We are a contracted sponsor of AIG and support Afrikaans music, not individuals. We are not involved in the event management or the artist selection process.”

Koch, known for his interviews with politicians using his puppet, “Chester Missing”, replied: “Have associated yourselves with an apartheid denialist.
It gives his views credibility, @PicknPay: support Afrikaans music, not individuals”. 

Comment was not immediately available from Land Rover South Africa.

‘Die Stem’
Singer and actor Hofmeyr, meanwhile, was busy on Twitter, quoting a Bible verse about God loving him, reminding his followers that it was the birth date of the late opera singer Mimi Coertse’s first husband Dawid Engela and encouraging people on Twitter to sing Die Stem

The song was composed by poet CJ Langenhoven but is better known as the apartheid-era national anthem. A reworked excerpt was included in the new national anthem after the 1994 democratic elections. 

He also linked to a netwerk24 cartoon of himself handing back the keys to the Williams Hunt bakkie with the dealer singing: “Sorry Steve, but as your song goes, take the train to Bloemfontein”. 

Hofmeyr is expected to be among the performers at lobby group AfriForum’s Afrikaans music festival at the Voortrekker monument in Tshwane on Saturday. – Sapa

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