Friday, 10 April 2020

LOCKDOWN : GOVT SET TO BAIL OUT ARTISTS


ARTISTES submitted their names to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) on Tuesday stating how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected their incomes to pave way for them to get a Government bailout.

Since Government has put in place stringent measures such as a 21-day lockdown, banning of shows and public gatherings in the country in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, artistes are now out of business.

As part of moves to cushion small and informal businesses, the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development issued a statement last week saying they were gathering information regarding the impact of Covid-19 on medium and small enterprises, with a view to coming up with recommendations for support for SMEs affected by the shutdown.

Following this, NACZ is compiling a database through their provincial offices, of artistes whose operations have been affected by the lockdown, for consideration for Government grants.
  
Charity Nyathi, NACZ Bulawayo director said the response they got from artistes in Bulawayo was overwhelming.

“The artistes responded overwhelmingly and we’re compiling the list to send it to head office. Thereafter, we’ll wait to hear from them on what to do,” said Nyathi.

In Matabeleland South, Bolamba Arts Ensemble director Mthabisi Dube said this help could not have come at a better time as they are in desperate need of cushioning.

“We hope the Government will intervene and assist the needy in this trying time. We as artists are also part of the most affected people as we survive on hand to mouth because with no shows or any form of events, there’s no work for us. So automatically this means no money for us to feed our families,” said Dube. 

Last month, artistes met at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo to deliberate on their Covid-19 concerns. As part of the concerns and solutions, the collective said due to the manner in which Covid-19 has disrupted their livelihoods, they requested that Government intervenes with safety nets.

“This is an urgent call to Government to mobilise financial, health or other critical resources that can provide a support package for artistes and cultural professionals in consideration of their right to health and the subsequent realisation of their social protection which is an absolute imperative,” highlighted the collective.

Some governments worldwide are also coming up with rescue packages for artistes.

In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta this past weekend directed the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage in his country to set aside some money to cushion local artistes from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Herald

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