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Grammy-winning South African DJ performs in Israel, defying BDS

An award-winning South African DJ has performed for in Israel his fourth time

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INDIO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 15: Black Coffee performs onstage at the Sahara Tent during 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival weekend 1 day 1 on April 15, 2022 in Indio, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Coachella)

An award-winning South African DJ has performed for in Israel his fourth time.

Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo, better known by his stage name Black Coffee performed to crowds in Rishon LeZion last Thursday evening.

This is the Durban-born disc jockey first gigged in Israel in 2014, followed by shows in 2016 and 2018 when he also defied calls to participate in a cultural boycott of the Middle Eastern nation.

On Tuesday Africa4Palestine, a group that supports the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, slammed the performer for defying their calls to cancel the concert. 

In a statement, the group wrote: “This performance in the Apartheid State of Israel is in violation of the cultural boycott of Israel.

“It is an insult to the oppressed masses of Palestine and their progressive Jewish Israeli allies who have repeatedly called on DJ Black Coffee and other artists to boycott Apartheid Israel. It is in disregard of the popular will of his fans and of South Africans who have previously lambasted him for his Israeli Apartheid tendencies,” they continued.

Africa4Palestine also argued that the Grammy winner’s Israel-based event showed: “tacit support for Israel’s Apartheid and ethnic cleansing project,” and displayed a “disregard for the humanity of Palestinians and constitutes a disregard for our own history and is a betrayal of the cause of freedom.”

The group had previously urged him to boycott Israel ahead of his sold-out 2018 set in Tel Aviv.

"Like everyone else I have rights and free will and no Black Coffee is not a political party...I work as an entertainer to feed my Family. To sum it up....I'll take a bullet for my Family,” he posted to Twitter at the height of the controversy.

The DJ owns his own record label, Soulistic Music, and has worked with a range of other well-known performers including Drake, Usher, David Guetta and Alicia Keys.

Back in 2018, the social-democratic African National Congress party, known for its anti-apartheid activism, released a statement urging South African artists to bypass any opportunities to perform in Israel.

“We call on all artists to have an appreciation of the role played by the international anti-apartheid solidarity movement in the successful international isolation of apartheid South Africa,” wrote Lindiwe Zulu, who chairs South Africa’s ruling party’s International Relations Committee.

“The people of Palestine are in a just cause for self-determination and we urge our artists not to form part of the normalisation of Israeli’s suppression of the Palestinian people in their quest for self-determination and statehood that mirrors our very own struggle.

“The South African artistic community, having themselves experienced discrimination and oppression, must therefore continue to pledge solidarity with others who are oppressed,” Zulu went on.

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