SA puts no heat on Sizzla

19 April 2012 - 02:29 By JACKIE MAY

The 36-year-old Sizzla was scheduled to perform in Sweden and Spain as part of his April European tour, but on-line and e-mail campaigns led to the cancellation of his appearances.

According to UK website PinkNews, the company behind a Swedish event apologised both to those who had tickets for the concert and those who were offended by the booking of the singer.

But Jamaican-born Sizzla has a huge following in South Africa. When he visited here in 2010 he played to a packed venue, with at least 3000 disappointed people outside trying to gain access.

A fan, who preferred to remain anonymous, said Sizzla is her favourite musician and that she will ignore his homophobia when he appears in Kliptown, Soweto, on Sunday.

Repeated attempts to contact Sizzla were unsuccessful. The organiser of the Soweto event, who would identify himself only as "Johnny", refused to be interviewed, threatening legal action if he were quoted.

In 2004, Sizzla was barred from the UK after Scotland Yard investigated him for allegedly inciting the murder of homosexuals. In 2007, protests led to the cancellation of his shows in Canada.

The offending lyrics include those from his song Pump Up: "Step up inna front line [Step up to the front line]/ fire fi di man dem weh go ride man behind [burn the men who have sex with men from behind]/ Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom [Shoot queers, my big gun goes 'boom']."

The singer's Kalonji Muzik company responded to the furore in Sweden by saying: "We work closely with many of the artists in the reggae scene and feel that your constant attack against the artists and the musical genre is unfair and one-sided . False information is being written to [be malicious and] defame his character.

"It is good to remember that Sizzla has not been arrested, convicted or charged with any crime and does not have a criminal record whatsoever. He abides and will continue to abide by the laws of any state he chooses to visit or is invited to visit. It is his nature and his character to respect all."

In 2007 the singer was one of the artists who signed the Reggae Compassionate Act, denouncing violence and homophobia.

Sizzla will perform in Cape Town tomorrow.