Business and Arts SA to assist artists following lockdown

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In trying to close a gap left by the department of sports, arts and culture relief fund, Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) plan to assist individual artists, creative freelancers and independent contractors through a once off grant aid.

The grant support is a response to the cancellation of festivals, music concerts, exhibitions, productions and other events in the wake of Covid-19.. The announcement of the alternative fund aid has been applauded by the creative sector.

Unlike the DSAC relief fund which was R150m, BASA’s aid fund focuses on solo individuals which could be visual artists, poets, and solo musicians who can use the aid to cover the loss of income due to the cancellation of confirmed engagements, as a result of the nationwide lockdown or other emergency measures.

CEO of Basa Ashraf Johaardien said individuals who qualify for funding will get up to R10 000. Johaardien said the demand was too high because the application process was opened last week and Basa has already received over 300 applications.

The process excludes film people and organizations or groups.

“We are just a small agency with limited resources but we want to play our part. We are using our funds to help the industry. This is just for artist to patch where they can.”

Charmaine Soobramoney, chairman of the BASA board, said: "Covid-19 has forced the world to unite and fight against this invisible enemy. The challenge and the fight are real as the virus impacts lives, livelihoods, the economy, and highlights the inequalities that need to be addressed. The Basa board of directors acknowledges the continued challenges artists are subjected to. We celebrate their resilience and appreciate the role that they play in provoking thought and uplifting the energies of the consumers of the arts. The applications are still open.”

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