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South African Companies Hunker Down for Racist Video Storm

At least two Nike Store locations close after online commenters connect Adam Catzavelos, creator of the racist video, to the company.

The brazen casualness with which he utters the "k-word" is probably what's most shocking about the Adam Catzavelos video. The clip, shot by the South African businessman vacationing near what looks like the Mediterranean, has gone viral in South Africa and has led to business fallout for both the family company, St George's Fine Foods, and for Nike which is alleged to employ his wife.


It's a testament to the power of social media outrage, and its political fallout, that large brands in contemporary South Africa will move quickly to distance themselves from toxic people and racially tainted controversies. For black South Africans, the "k-word" is a racial epithet akin to the "n-word" for Americans. It's a word so toxic, so loaded with violent meaning and intent, that it is rarely printed without being hidden by asterisks.

St George's Fine Foods produces meat marinades for a variety of South African restaurant chains, many of which have released statements today announcing they will no longer be sourcing product from the tainted company.

Rumors that Catzavelos' wife works for Nike in South Africa led Nike to release a statement:

"Nike opposes discrimination and has a long-standing commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect. We believe in the power of human potential in everyone - of every race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. We can also confirm that Adam Catzavelos is not a Nike employee.

The quick closures of the Nike Stores in Johannesburg are likely related to the backlash from last year's H&M controversy when the company released an ad featuring a black child in a sweatshirt that read "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle." That was met by a firestorm of protests led by South African political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters where a handful of stores were damaged.

Even Catzavelos' childrens' school has released a statement saying that in the best interests of his own children that he is banned from the premises.

You can watch the video below artfully bleeped by News 24.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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