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‘I don’t only go to celebrations and funerals’: Nathi Mthethwa hits back at criticism

11 April 2022 - 09:00
Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa says his department's approach to the creative sector is scientific and evidence-based. File photo.
Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa says his department's approach to the creative sector is scientific and evidence-based. File photo.
Image: Department of Sport

Sport, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa has responded to criticism that his department does not support artists but only congratulates them on their achievements and sends condolences when they die. 

Speaking at a media briefing where he congratulated DJ Black Coffee on his recent Grammy award, Mthethwa responded to concerns over government's supports for the creative industry.

“There is nothing wrong with the minister being seen when there is a celebration or when an artist has passed on,” said Mthethwa. 

“People do not understand that we deal with artists at a very local level through community art centres. That's where we start. Our approach to the creative sector is scientific and evidence-based. We follow the SA Cultural Observatory.”

He said government gives artists a lot of support through programmes, including taking artists around the world. 

The artists, according to Mthethwa, include actress Thuso Mbedu. 

“We have what we call seasons programmes that take South African artists all over the world. The fact that people don't acknowledge that when it happens doesn't mean the minister of arts and culture only goes to celebrations and funerals,” he said. 

At the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, which saw many SA artists left without work and incomes, Mthethwa announced a R150m relief fund to assist artists, athletes and technical personnel.

However, artists and entertainers expressed their frustrations at allegedly not receiving payments from the relief fund.

Artists who have slammed the department include Rami Chuene, Kelly Khumalo, AKA, Simphiwe Dana and Nokuthula Mavuso.


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