SA economy can thrive off its arts and culture

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Spoken word artist and musician. Ntsiki Mazwai. Photo: Moeketsi Mogotsi.

The South African economy has great potential to thrive off its arts and culture industry.

This is according to spoken word artist and musician, Ntsiki Mazwai. Mazwai was speaking at a Women in Arts Symposium at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

She said it is also possible for one to make a successful career out of spoken art and poetry in the country.

“Yes, we can [survive], we just have to work on the structures. The Department of Arts and Culture has got a lot of interventions to do. There’s a lot of rules and regulations that have to be put in place if we have visionaries and the right people leading. It is very possible for the whole of South Africa for our economy to be based on the arts. I mean, if you look at Durban, it’s a very good example. Most of their economy is based on the arts. We just need to extend the model across the provinces,” she said.

Mazwai added that she thinks some artists aren’t standing up for the right things in the industry and are too materialistic.

“I just think that we have lost sight of what it means to be an artist and why we do what we do. I think that capitalism has had a destructive force in the spiritual nature in the arts. Our backround as Africans has always been that we have Izingoma, which means our spirituality is based on music.

So now that they are making money off it and only if you are with certain people you are getting the pie, if not you are struggling,” she explained.

She says such instances create disharmony within the arts and if there is disharmony in the arts then there’s disharmony within the people themselves.

Moeketsi Mogotsi/Courant