Artists march again to demand wider reopening of their sector
Practitioners in the entertainment industry marched to the Union Buildings again yesterday calling for a relaxation of the lockdown regulations.
They gathered at Church Square, led by organisations such as the South African Creative Practitioners Union and South African Musicians’ Support Association as well as prominent entertainers including actress and musician, Marietjie Bothma.
Singing and holding placards, they said long months without an income due to the lockdown was “just plain cruel” on artists who made their money from gigs and live performances.
The group included musicians, DJs, actors, community radio personalities, dancers and MCs, who said they could no longer afford to pay rent and car instalments.
They are the latest group to march under the #VulaPresident hashtag, calling for a 70% capacity to be allowed at all entertainment events so that organisers could make enough profit to pay their artists. It was the second protest by the entertainers in a week.
Later yesterday President Cyril Ramaphosa, in an address to the nation announced the relaxation of lockdown to level 1 from Sunday. This includes gatherings not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue and up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.
President of the South African Creative Practitioners Union, Hepter Mailula, said: “This movement is now bigger and our list of demands (is) long. Since the dawn of democracy our sector has never been looked into by the government.
“That is why when we say #VulaPresident we are not just saying open the events; we are calling for the government to open our industry so that it operates like it should. We are expressing frustrations and saying look at whether since democracy anything tangible was done for the industry.”
Bothma, known for her catchy advertisement as a white woman who speaks Zulu, said the protests were also about ensuring that the government was aware that artists were going hungry every day.