The eThekwini Culture Department has confirmed that the album of struggle songs, that it has asked former President Jacob Zuma to record, will be financed through the municipal department’s budget for the Arts and Living Legends project.
The decision has come in for criticism from the Democratic Alliance (DA), which is questioning whether the eThekwini council has approved the expenditure on the project.
The head of department, Thembinkosi Ngcobo, says the aim of the album to preserving history for the current and future generations.
Ngcobo says they had approached young artists before but they did not have the understanding of the songs.
“We noticed that each time the former President gets on a platform, he will always sing a song and these songs will be so new to the current activists that they were unable to join in in singing these songs. Therefore, this is one of our projects because what we’ve discovered was that most of these struggle songs that were sung before 1994 have disappeared whereas at the same time they played so much a role to mobilise, especially young people to confront what seemed to be a very vicious government at the time. So we don’t have video clips, we don’t have any form of preservation of these songs,” says Ngcobo.
Ngcobo says the department makes presentations to the council at the beginning of each year to approve expenditure.
“We have a total budget for that department that is about 25 million that we use throughout the year either to host events or for that matter to fund musicians either to record their album or to host certain events. So the funding for this project is going to be coming from this budget of the department. There are instances where we have to go through council for instance at the beginning of the year we do submit projects they may not necessarily be in detail but we do submit projects where we outline what we’re going to be doing and then we sign an agreement on the basis of those submissions and the budget that has been allocated to us,” says Ngcobo.