Forum believes local artists are being sidelined at Mapungubwe Jazz Festival.
THE South African Arts and Culture Youth Forum (SAACYF) is demanding the inclusion of local artists in the upcoming Mapungubwe Jazz Festival and has accused the Department of Sports Arts and Culture of sidelining local acts in favour of international artists.
The forum marched to department’s offices on Tuesday to express dissatisfaction with the organisation of the festival.
They alleged that the department had sidelined a large number of local artists within the province whilst paying millions to international acts that have no interest and knowledge of the Mapungubwe historic site.
Speaking to African Times, SAACYF president Romeo Ramuada said the department has failed time and time again to prioritise the empowerment of local artists.
The festival has been a bone of contention in the past as well with claims that it brings has been international artists while shunning local talent.
“We have actually won some battles in the past where during the march against Joe Thomas, we argued that they could not pay one person an amount of more than R1.6 million and that is when the department started allowing more Limpopo artists to come on board.
“When you look at the Economic Value of the whole Mapungubwe program, there are a lot of local artists but they do not make a lot of money,” he said.
At the centre of controversy this year was the inclusion of Nigerian Superstar Davido and American R’n B singer Tamia.
The uproar resulted in those two pulling out but their replacements D’banj and Anthony Hamilton have also been met by similar dissatisfaction from those in the province.
Ramuada said they were concerned about the level of exploitation local artist’s face whilst international stars bag a lot of money from the event.
“The reason we came here is that we feel that there are certain artists who are always performing whilst the majority of artists are not even involved in the Economic Value of this Mapungubwe Arts and Culture festival.
“ We had a meeting on the 1st of November with the department were we said that we understand that not everyone can perform in the main festival, but can we have artists in the buildups of the Districts and activation parties so that we can get this artists who are not booked to perform at the main event to perform there under a R1 million budget so that the event would benefit all of the people.
The department said it would revert back to us and they never did. We have given the department a deadline of Friday so that they can be able to revert back to us and if they don’t we will be forced to act,” said Ramuada.
He also accused the department of smoke screening the scandal after the announcement that previously booked acts Davido and Tamia had pulled out and will be replaced by D’Banj and Anthony Hamilton.
“They have the energy to release a media Statement saying that Davido and Tamia have pulled out of the Mapungubwe event and now they will be bringing D’banj and Anthony Hamilton to fill their space while our own artists on the ground who are the voters suffer throughout the year.
“The Mapungubwe Jazz Festival does not need their D’banj and this old fashioned Anthony Hamilton to come to Limpopo province and steal money from the poor for greedy politicians while artists die of hunger and poverty.
“These people are very dedicated to pay millions to foreign artists while they make young Limpopo Artists perform for free,” said Ramuada.
MEC of Sports Arts and Culture Onicca Moloi’s spokesperson Moloko Moloto said:”The allegation that we marginalize local artists is a fabricated lie. Of the 31 musicians who’ll perform during the Mapungubwe Arts Festival 2017, a total of 22 come from Limpopo. International, national and local artists are paid in accordance with the industry standards.
“The Mapungubwe Arts Festival is made up of several activities including the poetry and comedy sessions, theater, arts and crafts, and all the artists who’ll take part in these other activities come from Limpopo.”
In reference to the controversial Mapungubwe tender scandal, Moloto denied claims that the MEC was responsible for preferential treatment.
”The claim that MEC Moloi interferes in the awarding of tenders and contracts is absolute hogwash. The head of the department, Mr Mortimer Mannya, as the accounting officer, is the one who awards tenders and contracts after due processes.The allegation that we stole someone’s ideas is laughable and we will not even dignify it with a response,” Moloto said.