By CELANI SIKHAKHANE
The issue of the mismanagement and disappearance of a R300-million fund which was meant to help struggling artists as part of the Covid-19 relief plan almost brought Maskandi artists to tears in front of the Zulu Royal family on Friday.
Some popular artists who make a living out of their talent in the Zulu traditional genre, led by veteran Thokozani Langa, Khuzani Mpungose and Nongoma FM’s Maskandi DJ, Welcome Ntombela, descended on KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma to take part in a cleansing ceremony as part of tradition after the passing of King Goodwill KaBhekuzulu last month.
Thokozani Langa told senior members of the Royal Household that they are being exploited in such a way that their artistic work is not taken seriously.
He also raised concerns over the disappearance of the relief fund from the National Arts Council.
When Langa explained the relief fund debacle to the Royal family, he and other artists literally almost broke into tears.
“BoNdabezitha we are hungry in such a way that even the money which was supposed to assist us during the lockdown is nowhere to be found.
“We are suffering. We wish His Majesty the King could hear this from heaven and continue to fight for us.
“What is happening to us as artists is totally unacceptable and painful but we believe we have gained a great ancestor in His Majesty the King of the Zulu Nation,” Langa said in a sombre voice.
Last month, the minister for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Nathi Mthethwa promised to deal with this issue.
Mthethwa then changed his tune and said the R300-million allocated to the National Arts Council (NAC) isn’t missing but rather the council allocated it incorrectly.
He promised that heads will roll to those officials who are implicated to this saga.
He said they are also trying to find alternative ways in order to raise funds so that they could be able to assist the creative industry during these trying times of the lockdown.