Many talented African artists make a lot of money, but end up dying poor and penniless, leaving their loved ones not only with grief and great loss but also with the mammoth task of caring for their children, and paying their debts.
This statement does not only apply to South Africa, but to almost the whole African continent, and there is a long list of case studies to demonstrate this. Some say one of the main causes of this unfortunate situation is the fact that many artists operate in the informal arena despite travelling the road to riches and glory.
Now, the South African government wants this sad state of affairs to stop. The South African ministry of trade and industry (dti) recently hosted a creative industry formalisation workshop in Johannesburg, during which one music expert urged artitsts to begin formalise their businesses.
“This is the only way you will be taken seriously in this industry and the only way to be able to access government incentives and to provide services to government,” Creative Industry Task Team member and Ladysmith Black Mambazo manager Romeo Qetsimani said, calling on artists to register their companies or brands with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
CIPC is based in the South African capital city Pretoria. CIPC representative Mojalela Khoza told the industry that it costs only R175 (almost 18 USD) to register a Close Cooperation (CC).
In order for government to be able to assist artists, they need to take a lead and formalise themselves so they will be able to tell government what they want, Qetsimani said, urging artists not to stop learning. “You should be learned people who will be able to read their own contracts. This industry has sharks, and if you can’t read and understand these contracts, you will become a victim,” he added.
The purpose of the workshop was to assist members of the creative industry, including musicians, actors, composers, film producers, dancers, poets, and artists to formalise their businesses, ministry spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said.
Photo: South Africa’s best-selling late artist Brenda Fassie. Credit: Flickriver