Last week, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture availed N$5.5 million from its national budget to be implemented through the National Arts Council of Namibia (NACN) to ease the effects of Covid-19 as a temporary relief fund for the entertainment sector.
This fund would provide once-off support to individual artists, cultural practitioners, as well as arts and culture organisations over three months.
The move was applauded by many but it has raised questions amongst artists. They asked why they should send proposals for projects while the funds were availed for emergency income relief during these hard times where they cannot conduct their usual creative activities due to the covid-19.
Speaking to Entertainment Now!, The Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (Nascam) CEO Eino-John Max said artists feel they were not consulted on how they should receive their urgent relief funds and the NACN was supposed to consult and pronounce themselves clearly with details on how the fund will reach the masses who have been affected by the pandemic.
‘‘The older artists have no knowledge on how to come up with project proposals and have indicated to us that they are hungry and they need food or money to buy their basic needs – not funds for projects’’ he stressed.
The other bone of contention is how the urgent relief fund will reach all the country’s corners and how it will side line those in need at this critical stage. ‘’It is already a challenge to an artist living in Zambezi or Opuwo, and those who are not able to put proposals together. I think there should be options to choose which one would be suitable for artists to apply for in order to get the urgent funds. This is an urgent emergency income fund to help artists, and that should be treated as such – to relieve the burden that our artists are facing,’’ he expressed.
Nascam is also earmarked to receive N$150 000 to cover its administrative costs but this will not be able to cover many of their expenses for the current financial year. ‘‘We have to appreciate what the ministry has made available – and if we do not receive any assistance in the coming weeks, then Nascam will have no choice but close down office operations until such a time that the entertainment business opens again,’’ he confided.
Max is requesting all town councils and shopping malls to avail open spaces at no charge for artists to perform with social distancing measures and the members of the public can offer whatever they can to those artists performing.
‘‘It is most frustrating and heartbreaking as an organisation to receive calls from both young and old artists asking us for assistance, knowing that our hands are tied and there is not much we can do at this particular juncture,’’ he ended.
2020-06-19 12:40:50 | 23 days ago