Cape Town – The news of Solange Knowles’ withdrawal from Afropunk at the very last minute sent shockwaves through social media earlier this week.
In a lengthy Instagram post, the singer said she made the decision to cancel the trip "as part of the self-care" and confirmed that she's been battling Autonomic Disorder this past year.
Autonomic Disorder is a condition in which the autonomic nervous system (ANS) does not work properly, which can affect the heart, bladder, intestines, sweat glands, pupils, and blood vessels.
"It’s a complicated diagnosis, and I’m still learning so much myself, but right now, my doctors are not clearing me for such an extended lengthy flight, and doing a rigorous show right after," she wrote.
Fans took to social media to express their support, anger and confusion over the situation.
This prompted the organisers to send out an honest open letter which they addressed to “Joburg”.
See the full unedited letter below:
Following up on the news from last night that Solange would no longer be playing AFROPUNK, we want to continue the dialogue with you. We know that we are new here, and as we have made a significant investment in order to be here, we know that you have made an investment in us as well. Thank you for the overwhelming, positive support you’ve shown us so far. We truly apologise for the last minute change, and know some of you still have questions.
To that end, we want to be transparent with you on a few important points:
We only learned that Solange would not be attending this year’s festival within the last day. We value her as an artist and above all as a human being and understand that her health is paramount. Though we have worked with Solange on multiple festivals this year, we were not among the few who were aware that she has been privately dealing with this diagnosis. We believe and trust her commitment to grace the 2018 AFROPUNK JoBurg stage.
In the short time since we have known, we have reached out to multiple artists and friends, but most acts are already booked or otherwise busy for New Year’s Eve.
AFROPUNK is a community, and has never been about one individual act. Unfortunately, sometimes line-ups change, which is why our ticket policy states that artists are subject to change. We pride ourselves on booking new artists that could one day be headliners themselves. Our support and belief in young, emerging artists is one of the things we are proudest of, and that makes us different. We are excited about the international acts that will be joining us, artists like Anderson. Paak & The Free Nationals, Laura Mvula, Theo Parrish, Blitz The Ambassador & Jojo Abot as well as local acts like King Tha Vs Blk Jks, Nakhane, Black Motion, Thebe and Sho Madjozi. The full line up of over 40 acts is listed below.
The economics of AFROPUNK are that we made major personal investments to bring AFROPUNK to South Africa (unlike other festivals that receive millions of dollars to be here). We did our best to keep tickets as affordable as we possibly could, to enable the creatives and artists and strivers we so admire to be able to attend. We have taken every step possible to ensure you have an amazing experience at AFROPUNK Joburg.
We are here to stay. Throughout the course of the year AFROPUNK will produce multiple events at Constitution Hill. As confirmed by Solange in her statement, one of these events will be a solo Solange show. Once we have details, we will create a special discount code for 2017 AFROPUNK JoBurg festival ticket holders to attend this show.
We are so grateful to you, our community, and to the wonderful artists who will still be with us on the 30th and 31st of December, and to the friends and colleagues that have made AFROPUNK 2017 possible.
2017 AFROPUNK Line Up:
Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, Laura Mvula, King Tha vs BLK JKS, Theo Parrish, Black Motion, Okzharp & Manthe Ribane, Blitz The Ambassador, Nakhane, TCIYF, Spoek Mathambo, Petite Noir, The Brother Moves On, Jojo Abot, DOOKOOM, Gods Sons & Daughter, Thebe, Sho Madjozi, Stiff Pap, DJ LAG & Friends, Rudeboyz, Kid Fonque, DJ Doowap, The Alvhinator, Tha Cutt, Urban Village, Nonku Phiri, Radio 123, Automatic Live, DJ Kenzhero, Anais B, Just Themba, Pussy Party DJs.
Afropunk Johannesburg is set to take place on 30 and 31 December 2017 at Constitution Hill.