We need more moolah, sing buskers with blues

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Buskers in and around Newtown are unhappy with the money they get from the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA).

The buskers were introduced to the precinct in May to add musical spice to Saturday afternoons in Newtown. The JDA set a R150stipend for the street musicians.

Only those musicians who have successfully auditioned are entitled to the R150"stipend for transport". The musicians are, however, allowed to retain cash donated by the public in appreciation of their performances.

Several musicians have told Sowetanthat, though the stipend was appreciated, it was not enough.

"As artists who depend on performances in Newtown, we need to sit down with the JDA over this issue," said Ras Alex, speaking on behalf of the disgruntled musos.

But Asante Morgan, a musician who makes his living mainly from performing in Newtown, said he used the opportunity to sell CDs of his recently released album, Backstage Pass.

"This gives me an opportunity to market myself by having direct contact with the public and I also get to sell my CDs to them."

In response to the performers' plea for more money, Carmel Nair, the co-ordinator of the busking project, said: "The stipend, which is a pilot programme ended at the end of December. It was introduced to help artists pay for transport to and from the venue.

"If the artists are interested in going on to the second phase of the programme this year, they are welcome to register," she said.