The South African entertainment industry is set to lose approximately R3bn over the next six months. This is according to the projections of Shaun Duvet, the CEO and founder of The Unit Group, as well as the co-owner of Ultra South Africa, who spoke about the loss the industry is about to face in an online discussion with Bandustry, a non-profit organisation that tackles challenges in the SA music industry. In the same online discussion, Duvet talks about his concerns about the fact that the R150m that the South African government has put aside to aid the hospitality, entertainment, and events industry will not be enough. The loss will impact all workers in the industry – from musicians to waiters to event planners and co-ordinators, with an estimated 10 000 jobs at risk. The loss of revenue comes from event cancellations, loss of ticket sales, and an inability to play gigs. The most immediate loss of money will come from cancelled or postponed events. Over 500 events were cancelled including some of South Africa’s biggest events like the Cape Town Carnival, Afrikaburn, and MTN Bushfire.
There are a lot of ways that people can support musicians and bands during this time. Buying merchandise or CDs from a band or musician is a good way to provide support. Some bands will have specific platforms that you can support them on, like BUSQR, a platform that allows fans to support artists through donations. The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music also recently started their own initiative. The Centre holds a weekly concert that features three artists who each play a 20-minute set. In order to watch the concert, viewers need to pay a minimum of R30, and are then sent a link to watch the concert. All the money from the concerts is given to the artists. Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, also recently called for the support of local artists. Mthethwa called for SABC to play more local content in order to support local talent. Another part of the industry that needs support are the hourly workers, such as barmen, waiters, and technical crew members. Local bar Aandklas recently started their own initiative to support their staff by starting a fundraiser in which patrons can buy bar tabs ranging from R250 to R2000.
“Over 500 events were cancelled including some of South Africa’s biggest events like the Cape Town Carnival, Afrikaburn, and MTN Bushfire.”
Another initiative that was started to support hourly workers is the South African Fund 4 Entertainment (SAFE). This non-profit initiative was started by a group of events industry leaders. It raises funds via donations to support the South African entertainment, events, and festival industry SAFE has partnered up with Pick ‘n Pay Feed the Nation to provide food vouchers for these workers.
The vouchers can then be used to get a hamper worth R600 that is filled with essentials such as rice and oil. Many names in the industry have started to support SAFE, for example the Dreamstream Festival that was held from 24 April to 26 April brought together 33 of South Africa’s artists for three days. The tickets to the event were free, but viewers were encouraged to donate. All of the money raised (R500 000) went to SAFE. South African indie band, Shortstraw, also decided to raise money for SAFE by having a sale on all of their official merchandise with all profits going to the fund.
The entertainment industry is likely to be one of the last industries to open again, meaning that losses in income and revenue will last the longest. SAFE and other fundraising initiatives are doing what they can to support the industry before it is lost.
Image: Cletus Mulaudi