Artists from various disciplines have marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where they handed over a memorandum of demands to the Office of the President. One of the demands on their list is that 70% local music be played on South African radio stations.
SA musician Vicky Sampson shares more on the plight of artists in the country:
They are also asking that President Cyril Ramaphosa allow events to take place at 70% capacity. They further demand that charges against artists arrested during a protest in Durban to be dropped.
South African Creative Practitioners Union (SACPU) President Hepter Mailula says the creative industry is plagued with issues that need urgent government intervention.
“We are going to march to the Union Building to highlight the issues that have been affecting the industry forever since the dawn of democracy. It’s not just vula President for the events now. We are just saying vula President for the creative sector because the creative sector has been under severe suppression. Even the budget to it is not well thought of by the government, so we’re saying, President, it is about time to take our creative sector seriously.”
They say it is not only performing artists that are affected, but also people providing supporting roles such as lighting technicians, producers and sound engineers.
“I am here because I am tired. I work in the theatre. So, we are here to let people know that we exist. The theatre, the people that make beats. The people that do the lighting. The people that do the make-up,” says one the marchers.
“We’ve been dying as paupers. We’re saying vula President. 70% local music on all radio stations and television and then we’re saying also vula ama-venues, the music concerts. So, those are two narratives that we are driving,” adds another.
The handful of participants arrived at the Union Buildings after dancing their way through the streets of the Pretoria CBD.
A representative from the Office of the President, Vincent Ngcobo, received the memorandum.
“The process that I am going to do now is to register your memorandum in the Office of the President and then within 14 days the office will respond to the memorandum. I am saying within. So it means in five days or any time from now.”
35 arrested following protest by artists in Durban
Earlier this month, 35 people were arrested, many of them believed to be well-known artists, after they blockaded the N3 near the Pavillion, west of Durban.
Traffic was severely disrupted during lunchtime when both directions were blocked allegedly by musicians and performing artists who had embarked on a protest.