I’m a different breed, says Simphiwe Dana
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Multi-talented singer and actress Simphiwe Dana says she is not the “usual celebrity” who turns a blind eye to issues affecting the country.
Speaking to the Daily News on Wednesday, Dana said she had the utmost respect for the older generation of musicians and performing artists who used their craft to speak against injustices that people were subjected to.
“I belong to the generation which spoke truth to power and never cared about being shutdown through withdrawal of endorsements. My work is my art and my art speaks to different issues.
“What made mama Miriam Makeba and her generation so amazing was the fact that they used art to fight. Hence, some of them ended up in exile but continued to fight for the people in the country,” she said.
Dana said many people appeared to have been convinced in 1994 that this country’s struggles were over and expected that artists would stop raising questioning social issues and only focus on performing arts.
“Those raising concerns are today considered to be divisive and not toeing the line. We made a mistake to think that democracy would only present beautiful things.”
August is the month to reflect on the role of women and speak on their plight. The afro soul singer said that not enough was done to educate women on legal recourse available to them.
She said it was a concern that many women felt discouraged to report cases of abuse.
“We need to do more to teach them of their rights. They’re still mistreated when laying charges in police stations. They have no contact with prosecutors other than investigative officers who at times miss some of the most vital details which could help bring justice to the victims.
“Gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious pandemic we must tackle through our legislation and bring about laws which would encourage women not to doubt themselves when seeking legal help to resolve their cases.”
On the role men can play in preventing GBV, she felt that men needed to stop telling women what to do and start having conversations among themselves and tell each other what must be done.
She said the problem was not with what women were doing but solely on what men were doing because it was them who were making women’s lives difficult.
Dana advised those in the entertainment industry to move with the times, realise that the pandemic was here to stay and life was never going to be normal again.
She encouraged artists to find new ways to survive during the Covid-19.
“While the developed nations seemed to be overcoming the pandemic, Africa is once again at the back struggling to tackle the pandemic.
“The havoc of the pandemic meant that artists must no longer wait for things to return to normal so they can go back to stage performances because we are far from normality. They must now learn to be survivors and find other means of getting income.”
Dana is working on a few projects, but the music was not on the cards for her due to the pandemic.