Monday, September 21, 2020

Open Letter to Hon. Shaw Kgathi (MP & Minister)

Dear Sir

Your Honor I will like to first express that this letter represents various artists both visual and performing who are very unhappy at the performance and treatment of artists by yourself, your predecessors and Ministry.

Since we moved from the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs we have seen issues of the arts take a back seat and even being mentioned less in H.E.’s speeches while issues related to Youth and Sports have taken center-stage- this showing us that we are not in your agenda and Ministry’s plans.

It is quite clear that you don’t have time and interest for arts related matters, hence we request that you assist us in convincing H.E. S.K.I. to accommodate us at the Office of the President. The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has now turned into Amantle Montsho’s Ministry, where everything and anything at the Ministry must have Amantle’s name. This might sound as jealousy but it’s a fact we have been sidelined by yourself and the Ministry.

Since you ascended the post you have never addressed us except at the Pitso which to us the resolutions remain a pipedream as long as there is no political will to drive them.

More than anything else you don’t even know us, how we live, our struggles and achievements. You have never advocated for enforcement of the copyright act, you have not address concerns regarding imbalance of the Liquor regulations, you have not addressed issues of infrastructure development you have not addressed issues related to establishment of the arts council. There is literally nothing that your Ministry has initiated except trying to own the Heritage Festivals which is not your initiative but the President’s initiative.

With all these, worse still the Department of Arts and Culture is still under-budgeted, under-staffed and under-equipped. It still takes artists close to 4 or 5 months to get their prize money after the Heritage Festivals; this is because of lack of funds and poor budgeting for the arts by the ministry.

We cant finance and grow the arts with alcohol levy. We need a sustainable budget from the National Treasury/Budget. Todate establishment of recording studios for musicians as per Presidential directive has failed to materialize. This is because of clear position and objectiveness by your Ministry.

Hon. Minister as artists we feel it is high time you declare your position regarding the Arts and also explain your Ministry’s failure to table the Arts Council Bill in Parliament. It is very important that Hon Minister you know that we want out of your Ministry.

We humbly request you to call us for a meeting where we will formally explain why we want out of your Ministry. We are not fighting but we are very unhappy at the lack political will to advance artists matters in your Ministry. Clearly H.E. is not aware of the on-goings in the arts.

Yours In Music
Seabelo Modibe

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.