Who’ll win battle of the AfroBoere?
Pretoria restaurant doesn’t want city singer to use name
HE REFERS to himself as AfroBoer on his latest CD cover. And with his Afrikaner roots and red afro, it seems natural. But another AfroBoer – a restaurant – is so unimpressed it’s determined to stop him.
When Cape Town blues singer and songwriter Gerald Clark conceived his latest CD, titled AfroBoer & the GoldenGoose, he never considered that Michelle Cronje-Cibulka took the name of her restaurant, AfroBoer in Pretoria, so seriously that she had invested thousands of rands to register the name as a trademark.
Now, Cronje-Cibulka is trying to prevent Clark, who is launching the CD at the Blaauwklippen wine estate in Stellenbosch tonight, from continuing to use the name on his CD and marketing material following the launch.
But Clark is adamant he will continue using the CD’s name, especially during his upcoming nationwide tour which will include a performance at the Attenbury theatre, Pretoria on November 24, and at the Table Mountain Blues Summit, Durbanville on December 5.
Cronje-Cibulka’s trademark lawyer, Esmari Jonker of Smit & Van Wyk, warned “should the matter not be settled amicably, we hold instructions to proceed with formal legal action to protect our client’s common law rights and to enforce our client’s statutory trademark rights”.
She declined to say why Clark was in breach of Cronje- Cibulka’s trademark.
But Clark’s trademark lawyer, Carl van Rooyen of Spoor & Fisher, said CronjeCibulka’s trademark rights excluded music and CDs. He said she incorrectly “thought she had a total monopoly on AfroBoer”.
“She didn’t want any other AfroBoere out there. Gerald can’t open a CD shop named AfroBoer or sell a vetkoek named AfroBoer, but he can continue marketing the name of his CD,” he argued.
Cronje-Cibulka, whose restaurant specialises as a bakery and is best known for its novelty cakes, biscotti and bread, sent Clark a message two weeks ago to warn him that he was in breach of her trademark.
But by that time he had already spent R200 000 on the album, produced 2 000 CDs, and sent out hundreds of invitations to the launch event.
“I recorded the album in January and printed the CDs in September. The stage was set and the show ready to begin,” said Clark, former lead singer of Delta Blue and a musician for the past 15 years.
The name originated from the fact that he and his girlfriend, Melissa Fontini, had become known in their social circles as the AfroBoer and the Golden Goose.
Clark’s three previous CDs include Sweepslag, which was nominated for a SA Muscic Association award for best Afrikaans alternative music album in 2009.
“In the end, I’m Afrikaans and I have an afro. It’s not like I’m wearing a wig. But I’m not interested to be known as AfroBoer beyond the CD. I’m not going to have an afro all the time and I don’t want to be boxed in like that. I market myself as Gerald Clark. When the CD’s marketing is over, AfroBoer is over.”
Cronje- Cibulka, whose restaurant won this year’s Mercedes-Benz best everyday eateries award for best coffee shop, was unmoved.
“You take so much money out to register the trademark and it takes years to get it done. What he’s doing is conflicting with my brand while I’m trying to build my brand. It’s a catchy name. But to me, it’s much more sentimental than just a boer with an afro,” she said.
CONTROVERSY: The CD cover that caused the trouble.