The Namibian Arts and Creative arts industry should be bleeding right now in the cruel reality of a pandemic that has wiped any hope of making money from their artistry at least not in a very near future.
Despite being one of the major employers carrying the hopes, aspirations and futures of many youths, the Namibian industry stands cut off the financial umbilical code and feeling the cold of neglect like a stepchild who just came from the village to move into a plush house in the affluent suburbs, only that he or she has no rights to it.
While the Government is making every effort to make sure that they safeguard jobs in all the other sectors and also finding ways of cushioning everyone, the one child who just is not being given attention in the house is the artist.
Chairperson of the National Arts Council Patrick Sam described the industry as simply neglected. Well, he could not have said it any better in such times.
However, what is more, important for Sam is to deal with what they have done prior to COVID 19 and what they plan to do after COVID-19 to give solace to those artists who have lost their income. In any case, isn’t what he is tasked to do?
It raises ire to see people that are positioned to deal with an issue rather being reactionary than being proactive.
Although it is realistic that the arts sector is swallowed in a rather swamped ministry of Education that cannot be reason enough not find a solution, hence Sam needs to dig deeper and find his creative acumen. It’s anyway desperate times that call for a desperate situation.
Following a debate on art on the industry on national broadcaster could not be more disheartening that it was.
The Namibia Society of Composers and Authors of Music (NASCAM) also seems to be equally lost on what needs to be done to create a lifeline for the thousands of their members who are singing the blues for either pathetic royalty payments or the simple unavailability of gigs to showcase and monetise their talents during this time.
Anyway, this is the same NASCAM that has paid some unfortunate artist measly sums of less than N$10.00 for an annual royalty before.
It would need NASCAM to be proactive and start implementing whatever it is they think needs to be done to save this industry.
Although the Chief Executive Officer of NASCAM John Max was little less than unconvincing on his plan going forward.
When he made his presentation he seems to come close to sense when he suggested 70% local content on the national broadcaster and 50 % local content on the commercial radio stations but he must remember action speaks louder than words.
Until this pipe dream of improved local content on the radio is birthed there might as well be no reason to be singing the same hymn 30 years in independence.
In the midst of all the criticism, it is also imperative to note that the biggest weakness is stemming from the line ministry and also some of the artists who do not invest enough time to create quality content.
It is important for the artist to also know that to be played to a mass audience you must quality enough and missing quality also spoils the opportunity for the other creatives who invest their all in a polished product.
Our recommendation is an action plan that changes the sad reality on the ground than engagements and counter engagements that don’t bring solace to a reeling sector.