Thursday | 02 April | 2020
By Nico Strydom
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the South African entertainment and arts industries to a screeching stop.
As early as Pres Cyril Ramaphosa’s initial declaration of a state of disaster that forbade gatherings of more than 100 people many theatre productions, music concerts and arts festivals such as the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) had to be postponed or cancelled.
However, after Pres Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lockdown theatres and venues had to completely close their doors and all artists’ shows were immediately called off. Many projects were also axed. Big international concerts that were to be presented in South Africa had to be postponed.
However, South Africa’s artists quickly came forward with plans and the result is free direct videocasts on social media and other platforms. This, however, was impossible for many theatres and artists because of the costs that were still involved.
The focus has now shifted to planning the rescheduling of shows and feasts. There is, however, the matter of refunds for concerts and feasts that did not take place. One of the possible ways put forward to help the entertainment and arts industries, is that people should hold over their ticket money for shows that were just postponed.
Some of the theatres requested the public to donate the cost of their tickets and not to ask for a refund. Most artists are freelancers and people are looking for resourceful solutions to help this industry survive for the next few weeks.
Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, made R150 million available to offer much-needed relief to practitioners in this sector.
The filming of television productions has also been postponed due to the lockdown and for this reason Mthetwa asked public and private broadcasters to give preference to local content in order to enable artists to earn royalties. According to Mthetwa the associations undertook to pay royalties in time.
Mthethwa also proposed that concerts, plays and other occasions be streamed online. He said that for this purpose venues belonging to the department would be made available to artists free of charge.
Artists were called upon to use this time creatively and come forward with resourceful solutions to protect and pull through this industry in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Department of Spots, Arts and Culture: http://www.dac.gov.za/content/statement-minister-sports-arts-and-culture-mitigation-plans-minimise-impact-covid-19
Maroela Media: https://maroelamedia.co.za/
* All information was correct at the time of publication.