Letlhabile - The Premier of the North West, Supra Mahumapelo has urged artists to become serious entrepreneurs who can contribute enormously to the economy of the province.
“The business opportunities in the arts and culture sector are huge and we want to request you as our artists to take this more seriously.
“We have taken a decision as the fifth administration to put arts and culture as one of our top priorities in growing our economy but we will not achieve this if our artists are not serious about it,” said Premier Mahumapelo.
The Premier and the newly appointed MEC for Culture Arts and Traditional Affairs MEC, Ontlametse Mochware held a consultation session with artists at Tzvenza farm in Letlhabile outside Brits on Tuesday.
The aim of the meeting was to explore ways on how to deal with challenges affecting artists in the province.
More than 70 performing artists attended the consultation session and raised a number of concerns.
One of the artists, Mahlubi Kraai, a professional producer and actor said the department of Culture Arts and Traditional Affairs must employ people who have worked in the creative industry.
“We are really happy about the support that our provincial government is willing to give to us and we are keen to work together with them in taking our province forward.
“My suggestion is that our department must employ senior managers permanently who are professionals in our industry because they will understand exactly the kind of support we need,” he said.
Another artist, Joan Legalamitlwa, visual arts curator appealed to the provincial government for support.
“I want to comment the efforts of our government but I also want to request that my field be given the same treatment and support like other forms of arts in the province,” she said.
Music Producer, Thabiso Tsotetsi also raised a concern about lack of government support from government when local musician request assistance to compete in Africa and Internationally.
“We have a concern as professional artists from this province that we do not get support and the recognition after moving from here to other provinces such as Gauteng.
“We remain the children of this province and we want our government to respond to any form of request for assistance especially if we are nominated to compete in the continent and internationally,” he said.
Other artists raised concerns ranging from lack of financial supports in their various fields and projects, corruption within state owned entities such as Mmabana Arts and Culture, and the collapse of Taung Cultural Calabash.
Artists also commended Premier Mahumapelo for the establishment of the Annual Mahika Mahikeng Cultural Festival.
The Newly appointed MEC for Culture Arts and Traditional Affairs, Ontlametse Mochware made a commitment to continue working closely with artists in the province.
“This gathering was an eye opener for me; I will personally go from one municipality to another to engage with artists with a view to address their concerns.
“I also agree there is potential in our sector and we need to continue with what we have with all our stakeholders to explore all the available opportunities,” she said.
MEC Mochware assured artists that she will move with speed in transforming the arts and culture in the province in order to increase its contribution to the economy of the province.