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Mr Entertainer calls for support for artists

BANDA—You can give whatever you can no matter how small

Veteran promoter Jai Banda, popularly known as Mr Entertainer, has called for support for the creative industry in these tough times of Covid.

The pandemic, which continues to claim lives globally, has affected all sectors including the creative sector with events cancelled due to bans on gatherings.

The ban on gatherings has led to artists struggling since many rely on shows to make money to sustain their families.

Banda who has worked with several artists including Bright Livewire Nkhata through Entertainers Promotions which is now being managed by his son Tonderai, said artists are struggling.

He called for support as a cry on behalf of artists, saying they deserve a better life.

“This is a cry on behalf of the people who have entertained us throughout the years and who continue to do every day through their music which we continuously listen to. In short artists/ musicians,” Banda said.

He said, being someone who has been close to them all his life, he feels for them during this Covid time.

“I feel their plight during this Covid era, especially those who have been earning their livelihood through live performances. Most of them are in dire straits and they are barely surviving. My appeal to all of us who love music let us all do what we can to assist our musicians,” he said.

Banda said if there was any musician near or any musician they love, there was a need to assist them.

“You can give whatever you can no matter how small to help in buying food, rent, school fees etc. Or give them some work for them to earn something,” he said.

Recently veteran musician Patrick Simakweli, who stays in Chilomoni Township in Blantyre, also came out to say that he was struggling in the absence of shows and that his house had collapsed due to a downpour.

Banda quoted the lyrics of musician Gramps Morgan’s track ‘People Like You’, to help artists.

“If you stand out for those who are on their knees and if you are the kind who takes the time to help a stranger in the rain then there is a place for people like you,” he said.

Solomonic Peacocks with support from Segal Family and partners in United States of America has been on a Covid response drive to assist fellow artists.

“We are giving out packages to artists to at least sustain their lives; otherwise, it is hard for many,” Solomonic Peacock’s Director McArthur Matukuta said recently.

Some artists have tried hosting shows online but the culture of paying for shows online is still not there.

In other countries, the creative sector has been bailed out with packages and grants to support them during this period.

But it is a different story in the country, where associations are also struggling in the absence of the Arts Council which, if effected, would have been key in terms of subvention.

Despite being involved in disseminating messages on Covid, there has been little in terms of funding to support artists to create awareness messages on the pandemic with many doing things on their own.

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi has said his ministry is looking into the issue of Arts Council with urgency and that there are other areas they want to explore to assist artists.

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