Universal acclaim for 90% local music quota

AKA called it ‘the greatest victory in the history of South African music’.

The announcement of South Africa Broadcasting Commission’s (SABC) decision to implement the 90% local music quota on its 18 radio station has been welcomed across the board.

The music to be played will be across all genres, with a special focus on genres such as Kwaito, jazz, reggae and gospel, SABC said in a statement.

“Today I am proud to be South African. This man Hlaudi made me [shed] a tear for the first time in many years. Tomorrow you will hear 90% South African music on all SABC radios … please share! Freedom at last!” Jazz musician Don Laka wrote on Facebook.

Award-winning rapper AKA called it “the greatest victory in the history of South African music”. He was joined by other artists such as Arthur Mafokate, DJ Tira, Oskido, Cassper Nyovest, Zakes Bantwini.

The ANC spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said in a statement: “The groundbreaking decision by the public broadcaster follows an important and successful consultative process with various representatives of the music industry throughout the length and breadth of the country.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) welcomed the decision but said they would have liked to see the quota extended to include television and film arts.

Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Faith Mazibuko was “thrilled with the idea” and said it showed that the SABC was going beyond its requirements on promoting local artists and local music.

She also emphasised the critical role that SABC will play in transforming South African music and the economy.

“Music contributes significantly towards our economy and also plays a critical role in job creation. With SABC giving exposure to our artists and most importantly the upcoming artists, this will open doors for them as their music will be heard by different cultures and bookings will start flowing in across the country and abroad,” she added.

The Portfolio Committee on Arts and Culture said they welcomed the “progressive and intrepid announcement”.

“This bold decision will not only celebrate the richness and diversity of local talent but will enhance the quality of lives of local artists,” the committee chairperson Malatswa Evans Molepo said.

Their statement read: “What is even more reassuring is the fact that the SABC went far beyond the 40% minimum requirement of local music played as per Icasa’s (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s) regulations. The 90% quota will ensure that local artists benefit financially, something that will trigger more economic activity within the country.”

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