Who’ll win bat­tle of the AfroBo­ere?

Pre­to­ria restau­rant doesn’t want city singer to use name

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HEN­RI­ETTE GELDEN­HUYS

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.

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