Africans Unite Concert: Arts & Culture slammed for ‘funding foreign-owned company’

Image credit: webtickets.co.za

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has been slammed for allegedly funding a foreign-owned company to organise the upcoming Africans Unite Concert.

A group calling itself “Tshwane Entertainment Collective” has written an open letter to Minister Nathi Mthethwa to raise objections against the alleged funding.

It wrote, “As creatives, artists and event organisers who seem to never do enough to warrant receiving funding from your department in particular, we were surprised to see a foreign-owned company, “Play Network Africa,” soliciting funding and support at the drop of a hat without any signs of due process.”

‘Arduous funding processes for local companies’

The concert has been scheduled for 24 November at the Sun Arena in Tshwane, while the Cape Town event will be on 23 November. It seeks to spread messages of unity following the recent xenophobic incidents in parts of Gauteng.

Several entities signed off on the open letter to Mthethwa, including TrapLords, HomeComing Events, and Mams Arts Festival.

They claimed that local companies often endure “arduous processes,” including long waiting periods, while seeking funding from the state.

They asked Mthethwa to clarify “how this particular event managed to receive such tremendous support in such a short period of time.”

Objection to Burna Boy’s participation

Several artistes, including local rapper Kwesta and Nigerian musician Burna Boy, are set to headline the Africans Unite Concert.

The Tshwane Entertainment Collective has however objected to Burna Boy’s participation because of his controversial tweets during the xenophobic unrest in August and September.

They accused him of incitement and spreading falsehoods, adding, “He further promised to inflict his own violence on locals before giving your government an ultimatum which you seem to have received and succumbed to.”

The group further questioned the logic of holding such a concert in an affluent area of Tshwane, noting that people affected by xenophobia don’t usually live there.

“They live in our townships and central business districts and quite frankly cannot afford to splurge R400.00 – R1200.00 on attending a concert that does not seek to address their lived realities in any meaningful way,” they argued.

They called on Mthethwa to cancel his department’s sponsorship of Africans Unite Concert and to respond to their open letter within three working days.

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