Struggle of artists on small screen

Patience Bambalele

Patience Bambalele

Realities Beyond Fame is a two- part documentary that will be screened on SABC1 at 9pm on Tuesday March 18.

The documentary features interviews with actors and musicians.

Viewers will see Ken Gampu, Sam Williams, Thandi Klaasen, Mbongeni Ngema and Dolly Rathebe, among many others relate their pain and struggles.

Produced by young film- maker Vusi Bekezela Mhlongo, the documentary is bound to ruffle feathers.

Mhlongo hopes that his documentary will start a debate about artists who die in poverty. He believes that artists should not die paupers.

"People do not understand that the art industry is very frustrating," Mhlongo says.

"They think that we all earna lot of money and live big.The reality is that it is toughout there. It's a question ofthe survival of the fittest."

"Realities Beyond Famepays homage to South Africa's legendary artists. In thedocumentary artists talk about their experiences and thechallenges of surviving in the industry.

"We have spoken to various artists, especially those who began their careers at Dorkay House. The place was a melting pot of arts and cultures in Johannesburg," he says.

Mhlongo feels that many artists are not taken seriously, though they played apivotal role in the liberation struggle.

He hopes that his documentary will highlight the plight of artists.

Mhlongo says: "Since we are not recognised as workers, we cannot get medical aid, a pension fund or other benefits.

"We hope this documentary will make the government understand our plight. Perhaps it will result in some changes."