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As South Africa enters the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the entertainment industry is struggling to cope with the financial strain.
The last 15 months saw artists who relied primarily on live audiences take the biggest knock as big live events were cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.
Strict lockdown regulations have seen performing venues open but with a limited number of patrons to avoid the risk of infections. As a result, many artists across the country have been struggling to make ends meet.
South African actor, theatre producer and director Stallone Santino, together with artists across multiple disciplines, created an ebook titled “Creators on Creating: An antidote to uncertainty”.
The book is a compilation of 19 reflective essays from acclaimed art professionals and creators who share detailed insight into their personal experiences and commentary on the current state of the arts.
The project forms part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP).
According to Santino, who edited and compiled the book, the arts industry at large has been affected by the pandemic and artists and arts businesses across the country have had to make tough decisions since the lockdown had been introduced.
“Not a day went by since the start of the lockdown where I did not see posts on social media by fellow artists and industry friends who expressed fears over their dramatic loss of income and livelihoods.
“And despite trying to find new ways to re-imagine their art, artists were still struggling to make ends meet and it seemed like the plight of artists had gone unnoticed,” said Santino.
He continued: “In an effort to shine a light on the industry and understand how creatives are navigating the pandemic, I decided to engage with a variety of artists directly and offer them a platform to share their stories.”
Santino revealed that proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards raising R1 million for creatives in crisis.
“We want to give back to the artists who have been affected by the pandemic. The money raised will allow us to assist 100 South African artists with R10 000 each as a one-off stimulus payment.”
Santino says readers will enjoy the book because of the human factor that reflects what fellow South Africans have had to endure as a result of the pandemic.
“Artists are not some unfamiliar group, these are our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. These are the people whose professions play an integral role in holding society together and their stories are just as valid as any other.
“South Africans will be able to relate to many of these personal accounts and essays, and perhaps by shining a light on the arts sector in current-day South Africa, we will be able to document these realities and ensure that it is available for future generations to look back on. This book will likely bring in a renewed appreciation for arts and artists.”
In addition, Santino has created a funding campaign, Cash for Creatives to further assist artists during these uncertain times.
For more information and to donate, visit Cash for Creatives.
The book is available in digital format through Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Google Play Store as well as a direct download on Cash for Creatives.