Artists vow to sing Ramaphosa out of office
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Johannesburg – South African artists have vowed to sing President Cyril Ramaphosa out of office if he continues to ignore the devastation that the arts industry has suffered due to Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions.
The artists will hold an “Anti Manifesto” rally in Newtown today to express their anger with the ANC local government election manifesto which they said did not speak to issues faced by artists.
The South African arts industry has encountered many challenges since the arrival of the Covid-19- pandemic on South African soil, with many artists losing livelihoods due to lockdown restrictions that crippled the entertainment industry.
The sector has tried to meet the ruling party and the president but almost two years later their issues have not been attended to.
The Star spoke to opera singer Sibongile Mngoma who said she hadn’t had an income in about 18 months. She said she was participating in the Anti Manifesto rally as a form of protest against the re-election of the ANC in municipalities.
She said if the rally did not make the point the artists would like to make, they would take further steps against leaders of the ANC.
“We don't care if he acknowledges us or not; the aim is to make him irrelevant. When he ignores us we can highlight to the country why he is irrelevant. I am a singer, I command attention.”
Mngoma complained that some of her colleagues in the industry had lost houses and cars and had to sell their instruments to get money to buy bread. In some instances some artists were afraid to take gigs from other political parties because they would be purged.
“I was there in 1994 when your vote was your secret. Today your vote is not your secret, if you don’t vote a certain way the gangsters come after you. They have reduced artists into mascots. We are not mascots, we are creatives,” the opera singer said.
Mngoma, one of the organisers of the Anti Manifesto rally, said they chose the name Anti Manifesto because artists were not mentioned in the manifestos.
“I would say South Africans should stay away from voting and delegitimise politicians. If they want to vote, they should take away the vote from the party that is already in power and give it to someone else,” she said.
Actor, drama facilitator, educator, theatre writer and director Thami Mbongo said if the public loved their artists they had to help them vote out the ANC government.
“They moved the country to level one because they are desperate for votes. They don’t care about the cultural artists of this country,” Mbongo said.
Mbongo said artists had to protest and occupy government buildings to gain access to Covid-19 relief and assistance with other issues.
“The only way to punish them is to vote them out. What we want to make clear is that the ANC is now acting like the apartheid government,” Mbongo said.
Kwaito star and Trompies group member Eugene Mthethwa said he would support the rally because the only thing the government had become good at was attending the funerals of musicians and actors.
“Now it’s elections they need us but when elections are over they will only be good at donating towards our funerals,” Mthethwa said.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe could not be reached for comment.