21 April 2019


CATA reaches agreement with disgruntled artists

by: Vusi Kama   date: 03 August 2018

Following a series of complaints by North West artists who felt let down by the Department of Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs (Cata) during their tour of this year’s Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Cata’s Chief Directorate for Arts, Culture and Heritage invited representatives of artists to a meeting to resolve the matter. 

The meeting took place recently at the department’s Gaabomotho Building in Mahikeng.

The artists expressed their dissatisfaction, claiming they had been left stranded in Grahamstown during the festival, with some of them not even able to travel to the Eastern Cape town as they were not provided with transport. They also complained that they were not getting the necessary support from the department, even though they had applied for assistance. 

The department noted issues raised by artists and advice provided. However, the department pointed out that many of the artists’ applications did not meet the requirements, hence the artists were not funded. 

Going forward, both parties agreed to put the following processes in place, to avoid similar situations:
•    In October each year, the department will issue a call for artists to indicate interest in taking part in the following year’s festival;
•    The department will then evaluate those that have shown interest, in order to assess standards and determine if any intervention was necessary; 
•    Artists will then be given a platform to showcase their work;
•    Those who need help in compliance with issues (such as Sars documents) will be assisted by the department, as far as possible; 
•    Successful applicants will be informed early in the year, so they may have enough time to prepare; and
•    Those who attend the festival without the department’s funding will not be the responsibility of the department.

“Artists are happy with the arrangement and are pleased the department took the initiative to meet with them,” said theatre producer/director, Seipone Nkoadipo, who represented artists at the meeting. 

“We believe a new approach will help us prepare on time, to approach other sponsors if we are not successful with the department, or if there is a shortfall in funding,” she said.

The department further committed to help artists market their works prior to going to the annual arts festival.