Artists reflect on how Covid-19 will change entertainment industry

Renowned author Zakes Mda says rugby culture was stolen from the Xhosa nation by apartheid.
Renowned author Zakes Mda says rugby culture was stolen from the Xhosa nation by apartheid.
Image: Masi Losi

Will South African Artists rise above the obstacles brought by Covid-19 to echoe their truths about the realities that have been illuminated by the global pandemic?

In an interview with Sowetan, the award-winning playwright Zakes Mda explains how the art scene will see artists, triggered by their realities, emerge to tell their truths about how Covid-19 impacted their lives.

"Artists will not be told what to create, they are right there in the informal settlements, where a disease like Covid-19 will be devastating in such places that are under served by government in as far as services are concerned, " said novelist Mda.

"Majority of blacks will be negatively impacted by Covid-19 that is why there is much anger in townships like Alexandra; it will be more when winter comes, fuelled by the cold," said Mda

Activist and performance poet Lebo Mashile told Sowetan that she is thrilled to see how the artists will interpret this moment in history as an important landmark that people may turn back to reflect on.

"Naturally, when we are in isolation, we become introspective; people are searching for answers to questions that are posed by Covid-19 worldwide. The answers are not superficial because the questions are not superficial themselves. People are searching for things that are spiritual and inspirational as soul food," Mashile said.

"I trust in the fact that artists are agile, responsive and resilient and it is our instinct to comment on the time we are living in."

"However, it is difficult to remain creative when they do not know where their next meal will come from," Mashile added." I have been strongly advocating for the freezing of bonds, rentals and utilities in South Africa, because artists live from gig to gig, contract to contract. And like many other people, they have families relying on the same income - ' black tax'."

The Isixhosa praise poet Jessica Xa Mbangeni told Sowetan that at this big moment in history, artists should, in fact, be in the forefront in bringing the skills and also be the ambassadors of hope, drawing from the inner strength, resilience and intelligence and reflecting from the struggles of heros and heroines in history to inspire future generations and unleash strength the African continent possesses and the world at large.

"Covid-19 reawakens the world of arts, only if we could realise the power we possess from our spiritual core we can invent tools and engines of arts industrialisation," said the poet.

"Only if we can come together as a collective of different voices and listen to each other routing to conquer this war, we will be sound and ready for the new world to come."

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