Black technical staff to protest at U2 concert

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Hundreds of black technical staff have threatened to protest at a U2 concert in Johannesburg this weekend after accusing the show's organisers of racism.

By Aislinn Laing, The Telegraph

A union representing stage crew and technicians claims that major concert promoters are turning "by default" to white-run production companies rather than giving young black talent a chance.

It has threatened to set up a picket line to raise the Irish superband's awareness of the issue at the backstage door of the FNB stadium near Soweto, which previously hosted the opening and closing matches of the World Cup.

Freddie Nyathela, chairman of the South African Roadies Association which represents more than 600 mainly-black sound and lighting production workers, said he was expecting 200 people to take part in Sunday's protest.

"It has been designed to highlight the injustice for black technical workers in our country and the fact that post-apartheid transformation of the industry has not moved forward quickly enough," he said.

"We feel that Bono would take our concerns seriously but that he has not had the chance to hear them."

Cape Town-based Big Concerts, the company producing U2's concerts in South Africa, declined to comment on the union's claims.

However, Ofer Lapid, the chief executive of Gearhouse Group, which has been contracted to supply backstage and technical facilities, insisted that 50 per cent of his staff were black.

U2's concert in Johannesburg will be the first time the band has played in South Africa since 1998. The band's second concert will be in Cape Town on February 18.

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2011

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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on February 10, 2011 8:42 PM.

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