Jimmy Nevis. Picture: David Ritchie/INLSA

Celebrated South African artists have come together to create a song that implores President Cyril Ramaphosa to send the flawed Copyright Amendment Bill back to parliament for critical review.

The Bill, in its current form, stands to rob artists and creators of their copyright protections, and thus their means to make a living from their art.

Vikela Mina, meaning ‘protect me’ is the musicians’ call to Ramaphosa, to not sign the Bill into law. It is a response to his famous use of the Hugh Masekela song, "Thuma Mina," in his first State of the Nation speech.

The Bill poses a threat to South Africa’s arts, music, knowledge and culture because if it’s not viable to make a living by creating original work, artists will be forced to create less, or stop altogether.  

Contemporary and iconic Mzansi artists collaborated on the song, which features The Soil, Jimmy Nevis, Vicky Sampson, Ntando, Arno Carstens, Zolani Mahola from Freshly Ground, Wendy Oldfield and Nini Schlechter. The Delft Big Band Development Project and Gugz Harmonies from Gugulethu contributed that brass section and choir respectively.

Legendary South African music producer Gabi Le Roux is responsible for the original concept, arrangement, instruments and production, with additional production by Camillo Lombard.

“As musicians and composers we are opposing certain sections of the bill, notably the overly broad exceptions that will apply through the adoption of ‘Fair Use’,” said Le Roux.

“Essentially this means that anyone can use our work, without compensating us, and claim that it was ‘fair use’ which is very poorly defined. The responsibility falls to the artist to challenge that use in court, which we all know is extremely costly.”

Vikela Mina is the latest in a stream of public appeals to the President to not sign the bill. These include a protest march in Cape Town, an Open Letter in the Sunday Times and other publications, petitions that have gathered thousands of signatures, as well as articles and interviews in the media.

The voices of the nation are literally rising to call for the President to protect their livelihood and South Africa’s creative heritage – Vikela Mina!