It is a serious trade. Sadly, in others’ eyes it’s not an occupation as such. No wonder qualified practitioners of this trade cannot wait to be employed in the responsible department so that they can secure all necessary trappings or benefits that come with it.
They fear the uncertainty for they have seen artists starve and die paupers. Can you blame them?
The perception of the arts or creative industries in our country, can be traced to our education system. It does not allow for creativity, it schools or herds (like cows or cattle) everyone in the same way and then expects different results.
It expects innovation and creativity from people who were not stimulated in their formative years, and prevents them from looking at life in a way that can lead to a better life for all – especially in a country like ours on the threshold of greatness.
Its does for those whose parents can afford the rip-off that is private school education, who are possibly going to embrace art as another life aspect they can express themselves with and thrive, not merely just to make a living or survive.
For as Pastor Miles Monroe says: "Much gold lies in cemeteries than in gold mines, for many a people died without ever realising their true potential.”
We need more of the George Pembas, John Kanis, Winston Ntshonas and sis-Nomhle Nkonyenis of this world. Certainly, among them are legendary innovators like Gibson Kente, photographers of world renown like Siphiwo Ralo, or bra- G Luse – personalities who were custodians of the arts and entertainment in the township like bra-Welcome Duru, Zim Ngqwana, Feya Faku, Lex Futshane and many more jazz musicians. There were others, playwrights like Khaya Mqhayisa, composers like Mike Ngxokolo and conductors like Doc Mkhonto.
The mandatory 12 years of schooling must not be merely that; it must be filled with stimulation for all who are blessed to enter and remain until completion. Others who move further must turn out to be geniuses and innovators that our developing land needs.