The Coronavirus has now finally moved into lockdown stage.
I was highly impressed by the president making the call, but at the same time I felt heightened anxiety whilst listening to the speech because nowhere was it clearly mentioned that there is any form of financial assistance for the arts.
The arts was the first to feel the punch of the pandemic when every single gig in South Africa was cancelled in a matter of two days.
I myself lost three big gigs and also had to cancel my self-produced birthday show, which was set to take place at the Joseph Stone on 27 March under the banner of lolproductions.
When you work in a certain field, you look to the president and hope that he recognises your field of work and when he does not mention it, it kind of makes you feel like your contribution to the country is not being recognised.
So even if there is some way that we can get some assistance, it still would have meant a lot to all artists who were watching with bated breath to hear the president just mention the impact which our field of work would fee, especially by freelancers like myself.
However, we do respect the president and understand that stopping the spread of Covid-19 is the most important thing right now.
The scary part is that should this lockdown continue longer than 21 days, then our artists are really going to struggle.
I remember as a laaitie, I always saw the glamour of the entertainment industry and that is what attracts us all at first, but having been in it for over 20 years, I have realised that it can be a struggle to build yourself and that many a time we can be the stars of the country, but we are just working to create a sustainable income.
Yet, most of us believe in it and have enough passion and drive to continue entertaining audiences regardless of payment.
When I started in this industry, I was 12 and got paid R100 a show and had to build myself to where I am now.
For most artists, when we get into the industry, money does not matter, it’s just about getting on stage and being able to utilise and develop your talent.
It is only when a huge pandemic like this creeps up on us that we start to panic and question whether it was the right decision to have spent so much time in the industry.
The thought crossed my mind and think I felt it more than I anticipated, mostly because I am now not only considering myself, but I have a family also to look after.
The thought of not being able to see to one’s family needs is hurtful.
We are not full of pride, we are hard working, it’s not easy for artists to ask for assistance because most of the time the audience thinks that we are sorted already.
In the end, we are normal people or workers pushing hard everyday.
We feels the impact of a recession, 2019 already was not the best years for theaters.
Many people will say “yes, but you guys should learn how to work with your money, you should have saved for a rainy day”.
Yes we do, and yes we did, and yes some of us did not, but it’s not the time to discuss this.
It’s the time to realise that many artists were not prepared, and to assist where we can.
It’s going to be a tough time and my prayers are with every artist out there.
Let’s motivate people with our talent and make lockdown a happy, pleasurable online experience for South Africa, so that people will enjoy being in their homes and on their phones.
And hopefully, by keeping people on their phones and tablets, laptops and computers, we can help to make the lockdown a successful, happy one, and we can all can get back to our normal lives soon.
Sien julle in 21 days.