Waiting For The Arise Benefit Concert To Rise From Alala Land

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Hooray, the rains are back. Eish! But then again, with them, they bring some sad memories. You see, four hundred and….,

Well, numbers vary, depending on the source. A Polity.org report of 19 May 2022 puts the death toll of the 11 and 12 April 2022 KwaZulu-Natal floods at four hundred and fourty eight people. Another fifty were injured, and eighty-eight were missing more than a month after the disaster. About 27 069 houses were affected (of which 8 584 got swept away). Therefore, 6 895 were left homeless. Now, these are not just numbers bakwethu but are details that speak of human lives visited by pain, destruction and misery. 

 

 Good News Or Just Looting Opportunism?

Do recall that in the wake of the flooding disaster, news emerged from offices of the National Arts Council (NAC). Yeah, something about an Arise Benefit Concert to help the affected KZN families get back on their feet. Therefore, records show NAC Council member (Sipho Sithole) speaking on -eNCA- in sweet liquorice candy-flavoured PR mode. 

“When this happenned (the floods), the chairperson of the National Arts Council, princess Celenhle Dlamini, called a special council meeting to say, what can we do using the cultural currency that we have (which is) the artistic expressions and the industry we serve?” 

Then the somlomo othethelela the NAC Council launches into gloat-speak about a ‘probably the first and biggest benefit concert done in Africa by Africans for Africans.’ The target would be to sell just over twenty thousand tickets. Well, South African music history annals say…, Back in 1985, the Concert in the Park benefit show happenned at Ellis Park Stadium, right here in mjibha. An estimated 125,000 people purchased tickets that benefited Operation Hunger – a South African charity founded in 1978. Ehe! Impela, sengathi kumele nikhuphule amasokisi manene namanenekazi we Arise.

The Sordid Tale Of Mice Making Off With Artists Money

Anyways…, The Arise Benefit Concert may need the prayer pranks of raising stuff from the coffin things of Alph Lukau. That is because the show should have happened on 18 June 2022 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. However, poor ticket sales count as among reasons the shebang got frozen. So says one juicy source. Other close to the situation put the initial amounts the NAC released for the Arise spectacular at R300 000, but the figure eventually reached about R800 000.

Some insiders from the NAC and a highly placed music business administrator say the Arise Benefit Concert was a ship never to sail. Batjho the Arise was dead in the water from the word go.

“We could tell it was some money laundering scheme because the invoice or quote (for it) did not make sense. But an attempt to seek clarity from the service provider got one of our staff members demoted. The crime committed is asking questions around what was clearly a scheme to loot (artists money from) the NAC.”

In another conversation with the ThiVi Network, an administrator whose experience in events staging stretches back to pre -1994 put things this way…,

Listen Up Kids! This Is A Confession From A Music Whore

 

“The logic around the logistics of that thing (Arise Benefit Concert) was just flawed. I mean, first, the audacity to stage a party-like event where kunesifo (death) and disaster…, Come on! It shows how senseless, insensitive and heartless the people are behind the festival. Imagine the 1983 to ’85 Bob Geldof’s Live Aid fundraiser concert for suffering Ethiopians staged in Ethiopia. Right in the backyard of those reeling in pain and shock of drought and starvation. Ok, ke, suppose for lento yabo ye Arise they wanted to draw people from outside KZN, ne. But how many would have felt safe enough to go to a place that (just) experienced a catastrophe? An area where roads, bridges, water, sanitation and electricity infrastructure was in tatters at the time.”

 

A Special Covid Called Artists Got The NAC On Lockdown

There appears to be a custom of the NAC to keep mouths sealed on some matters, where transparency and accountability get sought by the arts and creative community. That is to say, for the umpteenth time, early last week – the ThiVi Network dispatched some questions (about the Arise Benefit Concert) to NAC. Phela izimali ezinkulu ziphumile lapha e NAC in the name of helping flood victims in KNZ. So, you know…, Among others, the inquiring is about WHEN IS THE ARISE BENEFIT CONCERT. But ke, because some among us in the arts and creative community got not taken kop-toe, the writer got left improvising on Lenny Williams and Busi Mhlongo in one breath.

Waphela amafinger prints,
 Ng’bhalela wena NAC, 
Aw’ngphenduli ngani. 
Then I walked to the NAC, 
The roller doors silently  laughed at my knocks
There was just no answers.

 

 

So, in conclusion, we rewrite the lyrics of a classic gospel hymn, wonderfully covered by a fine vocalist Ishmael Morabe…,  We sing Thus…, Avalekile amasango eNAC, Yey’ ye, yeye! 

Now, whether seen as threats to lives and irritation to some in the NAC, the ThiVi Network commits to remaining part of the arts and creative community that consistently floods the NAC with questions that demand accountability, transparency and fairness. MaNAC! There is some more pestering coming your way.

Creatives! ASIJIKI, or Kanjani?

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