A new South African documentary, The State of the Arts – The Forgotten Industry, aims to provide a snapshot of the struggles faced by some of the country’s entertainment and live-performing artists during the Covid-19 pandemic and the still-ongoing lockdown restrictions.
Released to coincide with World Music Day on 21 June 2021, the documentary weaves together stories from various artists, including Kyle Watson, TiMO ODV, Majozi, Goodluck, Dean Fuel, Lady Lea, and others who have been struggling to earn an income through South Africa’s continued lockdown restrictions, first put in place on 23 March 2020.
The State of the Arts Director, Adrien Conradie, aka Aidin Caye – DJ and Producer, says he was inspired to undertake the project to showcase the difficulties faced by his colleagues and friends who are reliant on live performances for the majority of their income.
‘At no point in the last 15 months have nightclubs legally been allowed to operate as they are seen to be high risk for the spread of Covid-19, and as much as the lockdown restrictions have eased as the time has gone by, the ability for our industry to operate has constantly been restricted, with very little support from government,’ says Conradie.
The live entertainment sector, which is responsible for over 800,000 jobs and more than R63 Billion in annual revenue (or 1.5 percent of South Africa’s GDP), remains severely impacted by lockdown regulations, with more than 90 percent of artists and other stakeholders having lost their income since the initial ban on large gatherings came into effect on March 15, 2020.
‘Musicians who cannot work don’t just suffer financially, they grieve for the creativity and connection that their music usually brings. The State of the Arts is meant to shed light on our industry and to provide a platform for those who were prepared to share their experiences in the hope of it educating and also comforting others who are going through the same struggle and knowing they are not alone.’State of the Arts Director, Adrien Conradie
Watch the full documentary on YouTube.