Local buskers shine

2018-05-15 06:01

A programme to develop buskers has resulted in record deals and international acclaim for its participants.

The V&A Waterfront’s busker programme looks to develop vibrant spaces and grow local buskers, explains Waterfront spokesperson Donald Kau.

“Busking plays a crucial role in creating the vibrant public space that is the V&A. As such, it forms part of a strategy integral to the V&A Waterfront,” he says.

The programme creates a measure of control, Kau explains, as well as making busking a more professional operation.

“Licensing our buskers for a nominal fee is the most important element of this process. It is imperative to provide certainty and a measure of management within a clearly understood, fair and transparent framework. This provides the opportunity to formalise the transaction and in this way allows each of the buskers to formally operate as a small business (SME). One of the key pillars of the V&A Waterfront is being an enabler for economic growth through the development of a sustainable development platform for small businesses,” he explains.

But the programme also looks at artist and busker development, Kau says.

“The V&A Waterfront prescribes to the continuous development and improvement of the buskers operating at any given time on the property. As such, monthly workshops are held that focus on business acumen and the musical development of artists.”

The programme currently has around 45 different busker groups.

“[These are made up of] 130 individuals of which 96% of performers rely on this income as primary household income,” Kau says.

Buskers, such as Kyle Rinquest, who has been performing his soccer skills at the V&A since 2013, have been lauded.

“When he first started performing, busking was quite new to him. He had to learn how to craft a show specifically suited for street performance. Kyle took great inspiration from international performances he saw and started focusing on crowd engagement, bringing humour into his act and mastering his talent with the ball,” says Kau.

In July last year Rinquest represented South Africa at the Superball World Champs in Prague. He had to cover his own travel, accommodation and food costs. The V&A Waterfront stepped in and covered all the costs. “Prague also has a very well-celebrated busking culture so we knew that this opportunity would be a great learning and development opportunity for Kyle,” says Kau.

Last year, another busker Owen Mngomezulu (aka Owen Bravo), was also invited to perform internationally.

“Through a partnership with the National Arts Festival, the V&A Waterfront has been hosting the Cape Town International Buskers Festival. The festival partners with Dolphin Creative to bring international buskers to Cape Town as part of the festival. International buskers in turn host masterclass workshops during the festival which are open to all local buskers to attend, free of charge. Subsequent to the 2017 edition of the Buskers Festival, Owen was invited to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Once again the V&A agreed to cover all travel and accommodation costs,” Kau says.

The programme has also resulted in “a dramatic improvement in the performance standard and income levels of buskers,” Kau says.

“We have to date been able to celebrate three different buskers signing record deals, including one international music deal. One of our groups has gone on to win a SAMA award for best contemporary album last year.”


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.