Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has assembled a team of South African artists, joining hands with their colleagues on the continent, to drum up humanitarian aid and reach out with moral support for victims of Tropical Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
“I issued a clarion call to the artists present here today, and many more who have pledged allegiance to this cause, to join the department of arts and culture in organising a series of programmes for the benefit of the victims of Cyclone Idai,” Mthethwa said in Pretoria on Tuesday, flanked by several artists.
“Gathered here today are the artists who have heeded the call to come bearing not just aid in the form of non-perishable foods and money, but their unquantifiable contributions in the form of their creativity and art that will surely count for much for those this is intended for.”
Mthethwa said a benefit concert was being arranged and the proceeds will be channelled to the victims of Cyclone Idai in the three countries. The concert is scheduled for next month.
“The artists involved in that benefit concert will be participating to show solidarity with fellow Africans and give back to the same African communities that have loved and supported them throughout their careers. Together with the artists gathered here today, we have discussed short-term, mid-term, and long term goals of what this “Solidarity With Victims of Cyclone Idai” will entail, and I will leave it to them to explain further,” said Mthethwa.
The department and #AfrikanArtists4CycloneIdaiAid are also organising an aid tour with artists and media, where those involved in this project will get to lend a hand on the ground by rolling up their sleeves to distribute aid and rebuild affected communities.
Celebrated artist, “Princess of Africa” Yvonne Chaka Chaka said South African artists have loads of humanitarian aid ready to be delivered to Mozambique, but there are problems with the transportation.
“Those who have clothes, those who have food to give, we need the food. Tomorrow we were supposed to go to Mozambique, we have collected lots of food and clothing, but the transport guys want lots of money. So we are a bit stuck,” she said.
South Africa-based award-winning Zimbabwean-born dancehall musician, Thabani Ndlovu, known as Buffalo Soldier also cautioned the donors to monitor their aid, highlighting incidents where some officials have been nabbed for allegedly stealing the humanitarian packages.
“Let us assure that whatever we are donating, we also facilitate, come up with a way to get it to the people that really need this… Let’s make sure it [the aid] gets to the victims,” he said.
Harare-born hip-hop artist Menelik Nesta Gibbons aka Don Dada said the Cyclone Idai assistance could also be used to reach out and counter xenophobic tensions amongst Africans.
– African News Agency (ANA)