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BRIEF: SA’s artists fight back

By Sarah Evans

Covid-19 has devastated the arts sector, and SA’s artists are fighting back.

Earlier this month, 2000 artists signed a petition calling for arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa to be fired after he tweeted that the SA theatre scene was “alive and well” – something creative industry leaders said showed how out-of-touch he was with reality. 

Artists say the industry was badly funded even before Covid-19. Cancelled performances and thus no pay means artists are now even worse off. 

In an editorial, Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood called for more funding for the sector in the 2021 budget, announced on Wednesday. That didn’t happen, but Heywood’s plea is worth repeating here: 

“Undoubtedly, poverty and inequality require that we fund our material infrastructure for the delivery of rights… But it is equally important we direct resources at those people and occupations that tend to our spiritual infrastructure, the people whose work inculcates democratic values: these are our poets, our dancers, our actors and the venues and support systems needed to make it possible for them to work.”

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 25 February 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.