A day before the State of the Nation Address (SONA), South African artists have called on President Jacob Zuma to address issues affecting the arts.
Gospel star Kholeka Dubula said: “We would like to hear the President speaking about challenges that we face as artists. Piracy is a problem in our country, most of the artists are not releasing live music because there are people who are stealing music. We have a challenge now of digital, people are stealing our music online.”
“Most of the time we hear the president talking about “unite us artists” but how can we be united when we are hungry,” Dubula added.
Speaking to the SABC, Legendary singer and Princess of Africa Yvonne Chaka Chaka has called for better conditions and planning for artists and to make sure their music is played.
“As a musician I would really want to see things getting better for musicians. We shouldn’t be called vagrants. There needs to be better planning for musicians and proper working conditions for us as artists because they don’t earn a salary every month, to make sure that South African music is played a lot so that we are able to pay our taxes.”
In October last year, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa hosted an imbizo to afford artists in Nyanga and surrounding areas an opportunity to voice their concerns on the challenges that they face as well as difficulties they may be experiencing when dealing with the department.
“The department is doing all it can to help artists with challenges that they face in the arts sector,” Mthethwa said.
Variety of concerns were raised during the Imbizo including the unavailability of rehearsal space for artists in the area as well as being unable to access funding for cultural projects and events.
“Minister Nathi Mthethwa is trying so hard, last year he called artists twice to interact with us regarding the challenges that we face as artists and I think that after the SONA he will call and tell us the way forward on the challenges that were bring forward to him. We told him that we have a problem that there are structures that say we are united but we not, challenge of piracy and the challenge of artists coming from overseas that are treated differently from our local artists,” Dubula .
She added: “The culture of paying international artists millions when they come to perform in our country while paying locals cents it should stop because if Cassper Nyovest showed you that he can fill up the Dome why are you paying him less if you are able to pay Jay-Z R18 million.”
Zuma will be delivering his State of the Nation Address in Cape Town on Thursday.