Artists raise their voice

2015-10-29 06:00

A group of artists finally got a golden opportunity to voice their concerns and challenges to the minister deployed to oversee their work.

The meeting took place at the KTC Hall last Friday.

Nathi Mthethwa, Minister for Arts and Culture, hosted an Imbizo to discuss sustainable opportunities available in the arts, culture and heritage sector and avail a platform for discussion on the White Paper on Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy Review.

Mthethwa engaged with artists, who came from different areas, in discussions about the challenges artists face in the industry.

He said the Imbizo was also open for artists to raise any other issues outside of his department.

“We have to hear what you want to say. Our department has the responsibility of nation building and it works hand-in-hand with other departments. We are here to help our youth, by doing so, we are helping ourselves and our future.

We want to see youth from this area going to London and other countries through art,” Mthethwa said.

He said the Imbizo will also be taken to other areas in the province to get an understanding of the challenges artists face.

Mthethwa has already engaged with other artists in an Imbizo which was held in Langa, early in the year.

Mthethwa also announced that his department is going to send legendary artists such as Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse and Mahotella Queens, to come and share their experiences and train upcoming artists about art.

Thando Mbongo, an artist, said artists “struggle to get a basic needs” in the area.

“We do not have rehearsal areas, artists cannot do an event in community halls, because of the ridiculous charges we have to pay,” Mbongo said.

Mbongo also raised his concerns about the promises the department made previously, but were not fulfilled.

Xolani Mobo, also an artist, said another challenge was the lack of exposure and that artists from the province are labelled “local artists” and that makes them taken less seriously.

He said they sometimes get hired to events, but they get told that “there is no budget” when they have to be paid, but that does not apply to artists coming from other provinces.

Mzwandile Mzamane, an artist who has since released three albums, also raised his concerns about the lack of exposure.

He appealed to Mthethwa to ensure that artists get the support they need.

Sipho Ncitha, a Hip-Hop artist with 13 years experience in the industry, said art can be used as a tool to take youth away from social ills in their communities.

Ncitha has been digging from his pocket to conduct youth development programmes in the area for years without getting any support from officials.

Nathi Mpothulwa said local artist are overlooked in big music events that come to the province, such as Cape Town International Jazz Festival and the State of the Nation Address.

Zanzolo Ncamile from Khayelitsha, raised his concerns about “corruption” that takes place when the money is given out to for development in art.

He appealed to Mthethwa to make a follow-up on each and every cent given out to uplift artists.

Ncamile said it is worrying that Khayelitsha is one of the biggest townships in the country, but it does not even have a theatre.

The Department of Arts and Culture is in the process of reviewing the White Paper and has initiated sectoral and provincial consultations throughout the country.

The department is also in the process of addressing the challenges that communities are faced with, such as lack of access to information that make it difficult for all artists to be aware of departmental opportunities.

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