Ntsiki Mazwai1280 views | Wed, 15th of April, 2020
I don't know about other industries but I have never come across a department as useless as the Department of Arts and Culture.
It is glaringly obvious that the department is run by people who have no experience in the arts and most importantly have no vision for the arts. In government apparently being appointed the Minister of Arts and Culture is perceived the lowest position and not taken seriously. Wow the fact that entire grown up adults think that art is a downgrade means that the ministry is a joke in itself because it shows you the caliber of leadership we have elected. They do not have the sophistication to know that art is a healer and in African culture artists were very important in shaping society. They realized the importance of expression.
Every year the arts is given a budget but there is nothing artists can point to and say this is what government is doing. The biggest joke I saw this year was how they handled the lock down. And they were so proud of themselves doing PR with plans that didn't make sense. They promised a relief fund to artists and went to the media to go brag about how they are saving artists.
The so called relief fund was a system where you send a proposal and they get to choose which artists to fund. Have you ever heard of such a ridiculous relief fund? It wasn't a relief fund it was a tender. A tender in which only anc affiliated artists would benefit. For the Department of Arts and Culture it was just business as usual with no planning, and engaging only ANC praise singers.
Artists have even given up because the same people get awarded tenders and gigs. There is no fair system that give artists equal opportunity.
If you don't agree to wearing ANC Tshirts during campaign season then you will
get no gigs.
The department of Arts and Culture was busy running up and down when lockdown was announced acting like heroes. Reality is no artists are being taken of.....well except the anc ambassadors. Artist season is from April till December, this means that this year artists have not started with gigs. We had just barely survived off season and hadn't started working when this lockdown was announced. By this time of the year we have usually started with gigs so we are feeling the strain. We are coming to the end of April and we have had no gigs SILAMBILE!!!!!
I have never understood Minister Nathi Mthethwa's contribution to the arts. All I see are messages of condolences on his twitter, that is when he is most active....when artists die.
We as an industry with the poor leadership still don't have a plan for artists. There are no grants to offer us. No UIF. No medical aid. No funeral plans. These are all things that government can set up. Whenever there is a crisis and funds need to be raised, Artists are the first to be called to perform for free. But when artists are in distress they must fend for themselves.
The department still has funds allocated to it and they probably don't know what to do because no vision, no leadership, no plan.....just a bunch of people who know nothing about art but just got the jobs from connections. Even the artists who have hustled themselves inside, Eish, we lost respect for you when you served your own bellies. Even when you were on the inside your contribution was zero. You were just there to eat. You are no different from the directionless ministry.....infact you're worse because you actually know the struggles of the artist.
Lockdown has made it obvious that art must migrate online. At this stage Arts and Culture department should have been involved with the telecommunications in this country because the data factor comes into play and has a huge implications on livelihoods.
Has nobody there thought.....' now we can have online concerts? '
The covid website showed us that the government CAN host a free website, what is stopping the department of Arts in creating a site where artists can monetize their work and continue with the gigs?
Artists are hungry and it has never been so obvious that the department of arts and culture is just a pile of inkunkuma that we need to sweep out. The entire department needs to be cleaned up and have people who actually know the arts running it. I don't mean celebrities, I mean real artists. This Mickey Mouse show we have been watching since lockdown only exposed that we have no leadership.
Artists are hungry
And Minister Nathi Mthethwa has no plan