The South African creative sector is replete with creative people who can compete with their international counterparts at all levels. Despite the talents and the gifting by the local artists (creators) need a conducive platform from which to showcase and expose those talents.
In March 19, 2017 South Africans mourned the passing on of the legendary producer, actor, and musician-Joe Mafela who died from a car accident. Many other renowned artists passed on since then and one thing is common there: we did not celebrate our fallen artists until their last breath which triggers lot of noise about their artworks and their expertise.
Maybe it is time to start asking ourselves if we are really appreciating the talents that we have in our midst? In the recent past a film was produced about the former stateman, Mr Nelson Mandela, and the main character was Idris Elba, playing Mandela. On the other hand Naomie Harris plays Mama Winnie (Winnie Mandela) as she is affectionately known by many.
Why did the producers not considered local talents for those roles to play the late(s) Tata Mandela and Mama Winnie Mandela? Why are the roles of such great people in the history of our country been given to people from other countries? Is it because our artists are not good enough in acting? Or simply put, are our artists not good enough to play characters about their own people?
The then Minister of Sports, Mr Fikile Mbalula invited Beyoncé Nowles into the country to perform at the Sports Awards for R5 000 000. Though the artist was not allowed to come to South Africa, we should ask ourselves questions about how we perceive our own talents. Instead of giving the R5000000 to a single individual why not invite 30 musicians and make them share the millions?
We understand the issue of resources playing a role in the quality of work the artists produce, but how will they get the resources if they are not given a chance? There are lot of talented people in this country is going unnoticed as we are paying too much attention on the artists from overseas.
To be an artist in South Africa is difficult as the environment is not conducive. For artists to make it in the creative industry in this country they must work very hard and be prepared to be exploited by the industry veterans.
Local artists are struggling to access the formal industry due to financial constraints. Young and unsuspecting musicians are falling victims of the ruthless producers who are greedy and heartless. Despite the long pronounced high rate of unemployment, the Provincial Local government is quite about assisting local talents.
It is time we embrace and promote local artists than celebrating those that we do not know. Perhaps artists must also start to understand the audiences as people and treat them with respect when they succeed!!!
“Local can only be lekker when you had the opportunity to taste it, otherwise you will be talking about the things that you do not know”.