The National Arts Council (NAC) will continue paying the artists whose gigs have been disrupted by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
With all events cancelled and the country in lockdown, artists and musicians are unable to work. But NAC chief executive Rosemary Mangope said the show must go on.
“The show must go on no matter what, and so we will have to reinvent ourselves,” said Mangope.
“If they are able to push out what they can they should, but we will still fund them as they have to live.”
Mangope said the council would support artists to livestream their shows – on YouTube and other platforms – to keep things going. “We aren’t penalising anyone, we are looking to support [them and] how they might be able to adapt [to this reality], which is actually exciting.”
Mangope said the arts sector accounted for 1.6% of the country’s GDP. “We have just added a call for funding on our website as we don’t want to halt anything. We are still encouraging beneficiaries to contribute.”
The arts sector is monitored by the SA Cultural Observatory, which gauges how much it contributes on a biannual basis. Their last assessments in 2018 showed just how much money the arts sector brings in – about R63 billion. That covers everything, from visual arts to programming, books and the media.
“It would be foolhardy for me to say how much will be lost [because of Covid-19] as the next study was due to take place this year,” Mangope said.
Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, in his address on Wednesday, said: “Priority will be given to artists and practitioners who were already booked for some of the cancelled and postponed events funded by the department as well as to the legends of the industry.”
Mthethwa expressed deep concern for the performers and urged artists to embrace the fourth industrial revolution by livestreaming their shows. He said there was a need for more local music to be played on radio and more locally created visual content to be screened.
Rapper Riky Rick’s Cotton Fest last month is perhaps the only key event to have happened this year.
The SA Film and Television Awards have fallen away with major gatherings such as the SA Music Awards, the Back to the City Hip-Hop Festival and jovial social events like the Durban July all cancelled or postponed.
Above article is published with the City Press