Racism claims overshadow Mykonos Langebaan Festival

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Mykonos is in hot water after the ANC penned a letter to the festival accusing them of racism.

The West Coast community is up in arms against the upcoming Mykonos festival in Langebaan, they are citing alleged racism, lack of diversity, transformation and exclusion of black artists. Locals have dubbed the line-up for the festival, which takes place in mid-December at the Mykonos Casino and Resort as racist and exclusionary. The festival runs from the 16th -17th December and features a line-up of predominantly white artists expected to perform at the festival.

Mykonos Festival Promo Image
Mykonos Festival 2016 Advertisement appears to strengthen arguments about the predominantly white male line-up. Link to their website here: www.tsogosun.com

The allegations of racism were brought forward by Sammy Claassen who penned an open letter to the resort to air concerns, which Mykonos disagreed with. In the letter written by Claassen it states “We as locals in the West Coast region feel aggrieved by the organizers of the Mykonos Festivals’ continued marginalization of our local and national black artists. We are unhappy with the blatant lack of opportunity for our black entrepreneurs and service providers in general during the annual Mykonos festival,”
Sammy Claassen is the regional spokesperson for the ANC.

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The festival organizers responded to Claassens’ letter by stating “We believe and support transformation in our business, hence the level 2 BBBEE status that Mykonos is very proud of.

Sammy Claassen was dissatisfied by this response and issued another letter on October 21st where he stated some of the complaints, these complains are the following:

  • Sidelining and lack of contracts for local musicians, artists and service providers at the festival
  • Lack of female artists
  • Lack of contracts for black artists and service providers at the festival
link to the full response obtained from Mykonos.
Click here to read the full response obtained from Mykonos.

Artsvark contacted the festival organizers to find out what their response on the matter is. In a statement released by Mykonos they stated:
Our formal response to this complaint outlines our official viewpoint. In essence we believe and support transformation in our business, hence the Level 2 BBBEE (New Code) that Tsogo Sun currently holds as well as the Level 2 BBBEE status that Mykonos is very proud of.

As aforementioned, the festival itself as we stand now, has 80% procurement spend on BBBEE suppliers.An event must appeal to the demographic of your audience. In the case of Mykonos Casino, the core demographic of the property is white Afrikaans followed closely by the coloured community who are predominantly Afrikaans.

After we contacted Mykonos the ANC’s Sammy Claassen responded by saying there is no adequate proof of this, they then held a media briefing on Monday, 7 November to discuss the way forward. The ANC said they reject the organizers attempts to create and provide recreational entertainment exclusively to the white market.

The ANC pleaded with the owners of Tsogo Sun to intervene and investigate what they call “Maladministration in management at Mykonos”


Marvin Charles is a South African journalist, Marvin has worked both in print and broadcasting and has over three years of journalism experience. Marvin is currently residing in Cape Town, South Africa and provides regular news contributions for various media houses.

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