THE arts sector, like many other sectors, has largely been ravaged by the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown as artistes cannot showcase their art in the manner in which they were used to. However, it is encouraging that it is not all doom and gloom as practitioners slowly adapt to the changing times where safety comes first.
Social media has opened avenues that appeared closed for many artistes, and continue to do so. However, there is a generation that finds itself playing catch-up, sometimes even throwing their arms up in the air in despair as they have not fully grasped the potential that lies within the social media space, whose reach is almost unlimited. The Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards is holding its conscious citizenship strategy concert this weekend and a fusion of the old guard and the up-and-coming artistes will have an opportunity to showcase their talent online.
What is quite moving is that a platform has been created for even the likes of Tafi Dube, a man that has entertained Bulawayo through strumming his guitar on the streets for generations now. Elsewhere in this edition Tafi chronicles his struggles to fend for his family in the face of Covid-19. His story resonates with many people that struggle daily to put food on the table. We applaud the organisers of the online concert and the RoilBAA team for keeping the fire burning by not folding their arms and waiting for Covid-19 to run its course, but looking for opportunities even amid adversity.
While we applaud them for this move to migrate online and hook up with a bigger audience, we believe we need a sustainable way of harnessing the great potential that the online platforms present. These ensure immediate global visibility that can be monetised in the long run. However, artistes and their managers and representative organisations need to be familiar with this new terrain in which the world is increasingly anchored on in its various and numerous facets, moreso now in the era of Covid-19 wherein physical contact is not encouraged.
We need to bring our traditional model artistes online so that they realise an income off their talents and exposing the likes of Tafi Dube and Prudence Mabhena through a facebook live concert is a step in the right direction. It is our hope that more organisations will come forward to promote our artistes and hand-hold them so they slowly adapt to the new global business realities in order for them to swim to shore, instead of drowning under the Covid-19 tide. We need to create more awareness and afford our artistes more exposure so that we unearth gems that lie buried on the wrong side of the technological divide.