f there is one sector that suffers massively from lack of meaningful financial support from both the government and private sector, it is the creative sector.
Players in the sector have complained for years on end but the status quo remains the same. If some change and improvement has been achieved then it is very negligible. The arts are viewed by many as a pastime not deserving a heavy capital investment let alone the attention the owners crave for.
Even when someone is sitting on some huge kitty, the arts is always the last option when exercising the idea of investing in some corporate social responsibilities. It is an area which does not assure you of a clear-cut way of recouping your investment. So, potential partners simply look away and move on.
So the sector has suffered and continues to suffer from lack of financing. This has affected individuals only, some bodies which are tasked with the duty of overseeing and coordinating some functions within the sector have felt the pinch too.
In some instances, their functions become completely crippled rendering their establishments totally ineffective. No matter the quality of the capacity of the office bearers, but if the engine is not well oiled, you can’t achieve the speed you want or reach your desirable destination.
When it comes to individuals, a lot of acts which had immerse potential have been suffocated due to lack of a steady capital to get their trade and up and running. Drama groups, music bands and many such others have exited the stage earlier than they would have wished.
In as much as the environment is as thin, at times the artists have failed to capitalise on establishing partnerships which on paper may look small but with huge long-term collective gains.
In mind comes the partnership musician Faith Mussa has entered with Borneo Coach Services. One may question what an artist of Faith’s stature can benefit from such an arrangement.
The arrangement between them, which also came with the singer assuming the role of the company’s brand ambassador, entails that the bus company will be responsible for his local movement when performing.
Sometimes you just need that complimentary little to ease your operational budget lines. Simple. When Faith was coming to Blantyre from Lilongwe last Sunday for his Up Close and Personal performance, alongside his band crew they travelled using the luxurious buses.
Imagine if, as an artist, you should have five or six of such partnerships where some oganisations or individuals are supporting you with things as small and little as bottled water, then someone helping you with stage decorations and another one supporting you with hiring of the venue.
This is very doable. As long as you build your profile perfectly and make the other party assured that there is also something that you are bringing on the table for them. But most of our local artists even fail at stage one: they can’t build a profile which win them the trust of the corporate world.
This is clear in most artists’ approach to their trade and approach. It appears most of them forget the fact that the survival of their careers directly hinges on the picture that they sell to the outside world about themselves.
Let them be reminded that it is incumbent upon them to give a good account of themselves on every possible platform. Some artists cannot even make it in time to events they have organised themselves. If an artist stands me up for his performance, let that person be assured that I will never take the trouble to attend his event again.
Our artists should learn to make use of every small opportunity and opening. It is not always that you find a windfall on your laps. Some will have to work with the bits and pieces until they get to the top. Start small and eventually grow big. That’s a sweeter story.