Over 90 percent of South African live performers hit hard by COVID-19: report

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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 18: A traditional Zulu music group at the old Putco Depo in Marabastad in Pretoria before marching to the Department of Transport and the Union Buildings during the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) strike action on November 18, 2020 in Pretoria, South Africa. According to media reports, the alliance wants the government to fast-track the payout of the COVID-19 relief fund. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A traditional Zulu music group at the old Putco Depo in Marabastad in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Over 90 percent of South African live music industry performers lost income due to COVID-19 and 25 percent said they would not be able to continue under lockdown, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) said in a report titled “Impact Analysis: Live-Music Venues and the South African economy in the context of COVID-19.”

SACO, a national statistical and socio-economic research project established by the Department of Arts and Culture, said among all respondents who had been in the industry for over five years, 23 percent said they terminated short-term contracts while 13 percent retrenched employees and 18 percent cut salaries. Only six percent said they could continue to pay all employees.

Seven percent of the artists had successfully applied for the government COVID-19 relief fund while some had to sell their equipment and assets to support their families.

“It is important we understand how the various sectors of the industry have been affected and continue to be affected by the pandemic as this empowers us to provide better insights to both policy makers and the industry,” said SACO executive director Unathi Lutshaba.

Lutshaba said, “The study also sought to explore the contributions live music can make to broader societal and economic resilience and recovery and rebuilding international linkages.”

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