Zuma Lends an Ear to the Problems of Performing Artists
BYLINE: XOLANI MBANJWA Political Bureau
In an extraordinary show of support, President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by a phalanx of his cabinet members, spent most of yesterday listening to the grievances of performing artists and discussing issues plaguing the music and television industries.
Among more than 100 actors and musicians who gathered at the Sandton Convention Centre for the meeting were top industry names such as Sello "Chicco" Twala, Don Laka, MXO and Blondie Makhene, all of whom were vocal in their support for the ANC when Zuma was campaigning for the April elections.
During his campaign, Zuma promised performing artists he would initiate talks to develop policies to assist South Africans in the creative arts.
Musicians and actors first met Zuma at Montecasino in Johannesburg a year ago when they gave him their support.
Musicians including Mbongeni Ngema, Mafikizolo, Bongo Maffin, Dr Victor, Thebe, HHP and Oskido had given the ANC their full support.
Cabinet members - Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Ministers in the Presidency Trevor Manuel and Collins Chabane, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana, Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande - listened attentively as artists appealed for help to alleviate their "pauper" status.
Bitter that previous administrations had not responded to their appeals for assistance, one artist said the last president to show interest in their cause was Nelson Mandela. …