16 April 2019

Southern Africa: Call to Support Victims of Cyclone Idai

Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has encouraged South Africans to assist victims affected by Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

"In the spirit of Ubuntu, let us do our part in rebuilding the affected communities," Mthethwa said.

The Minister made the call alongside African Artists, on Tuesday in Tshwane, during a media briefing which outlined support towards the victims of the cyclone.

More than 1 000 people have reportedly died as a result of the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. The World Bank estimates the affected countries will need over $2 billion to recover.

The Department of Arts of Culture has joined its sister departments in mobilising donations for the affected people.

"Artists are working towards a benefit concert targeted for 18 May as a daytime family concert to take place at Bez Valley Park," he said.

The Minister has also urged artists who have not committed to performing at the concert to donate their time and line-up for the concert whose proceeds will be used to provide much needed essentials for survivors.

"A collection drive in the department offices across all provinces is being arranged. The public will be mobilized to donate non-perishable food items, clothing, potable water, sanitation, toys and medical support," he said.

The department will use all its platforms to raise awareness of the public about the plight.

"One such event that will be dedicated to Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique is the launch of the Africa Month at the beginning of May," the Minister said.

Announcements will also be made during the SAMA nominees' announcement on 25 April.

"The three countries' embassies will be visited and this will be followed by an aid tour with artists and media, where those involved in the project will get to lend a hand on the ground by rolling up their sleeves and helping distribute aid and rebuild communities.

"A tree planting campaign is geared for 1 July 2019 as part of International Reggae Day," he said.

The Minister has applauded South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in their efforts to help those who are in need of clean clothes and food.

"We recognize the efforts of the Department of Health in donating medical supplies. We thank the international community and non-governmental organisations from all over the world for responding to the crisis faced by our neighbouring countries.

"We also recognise the efforts of ordinary South Africans who have made donations in assisting our brothers and sisters," he said.

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