ARTISTS worldwide are important agents of change.
Artists have influence on societal development. Artists often challenge the commonly held perspectives with innovative thinking.
Artists raise awareness about social issues, break down barriers to cross-cultural understanding and national (even global) dialogue, and inspire creative ideas.
That’s what artists do and they have to be allowed as such.
The problem starts when artists are treated as "they” or "those”.
Artists are the backbone of society and, without them, society loses an important element of its social capital, as well as part if its history and future.
Eastern Cape, a province with a wealth of creativity and talent is one that has people who are committed to blocking development and success of its own artists.
We are made spectators in a game we are supposed to be playing. Instead of creating platforms to highlight and celebrate the talent we have in the province, they ignore it and proudly brag of bringing well established artists from other provinces.
We cannot have people who are not art practitioners heading arts departments. This is one of the reason there are no solid on-going projects because these people are not aware of what an artist needs.
For example, here in Cacadu region, the Department of Arts and Culture is useless. They have no programmes for artists.
They are only visible during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. There are many artists that do not know who to go to when they need assistance. We have offices in our region but they are not visible.
Promoters need to have confidence in local artists and must not kill their talent. They must stop the exploitation of local artists in the name of exposure. Exposure does not pay the bills. I believe, when you’re good at something, you can’t do it for free.
Booking artists from outside the province while ignoring local artists is killing the talent. That must stop.
You will never ever find an artist from the Eastern Cape headlining in KwaZulu-Natal, not even being an opening act.
Radio station, journalists and TV stations need to embrace the local talent and make sure that they have their fair share of being covered and acknowledged.
We can’t have international and national artists filling all the spaces at the expense of local talent. It is the same people who support the media that are ignoring these local artists.
The masses depend on media for information, so if they do not see the local artists on any medium, they will not take them seriously.
We are not asking for much. Interviews and airplay is all.
Artists also have the role of ensuring that what they present to the public is of high quality. People will not support what they believe is not worth their money and time. Artist need to also show professionalism at all times. Art is a business and must be treated as such.
It’s about time people support local talent and do not hijack and claim them when their hustle pays off.
People ignored Zahara when she was doing non-paying gigs around East London. We don’t want that to happen to other artists. Please support artists so that you can take credit for something you have groomed and supported. We don’t need to go to Johannesburg. Your support is all we are asking for.
Tsepiso Nzayo, Grahamstown