South Africa: It's All Very Well for Performing Artists to Leave a Rich Legacy - but Legacies Don't Pay the Bills

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opinion

Many performing artists live from hand to mouth, and from one gig to another. No work means no pay and, as result, there have been depressing tales of performing artists who have to work while sick to keep the wolf at bay or who died without a cent to their names.

For several years now, award-winning actress Florence Masebe has been fighting a lone battle for the protection of actors in South Africa. It's a battle she has waged through the proverbial mighty sword in newspaper articles, on social media, and which she has taken all the way to Parliament. Despite her travails in making the government wake up to the reality of the plight of actors, Masebe seems determined to make the issue a battle royale, especially because of the government's indifferent and lackadaisical attitude.

If its demeanour on the matter is anything to go by, the government seems to view the performing arts as a cut-throat, or at worst, dog-eat-dog business. But labelling it as such does not do justice to the trials and tribulations of that sector. This is an industry where a fortunate few performing artists make a fortune and keep it. Some unfortunate ones rake...

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