Feed Our Crew embarks on final push for funds
Wednesday, 10 June 2020
feedourcrewimage‘There are unlikely to be any events in South Africa until at least the first quarter of 2021’
South Africa - #Feedourcrew, supported by DWR Distribution’s SOS Charity Fund, are hoping to give a final push to raise funds internationally for event industry freelancers and theatre technicians in South Africa. This very hardworking and dedicated group of people have struggled to put food on the table during the national lockdown due to COVID-19 lockdown. Nicole Barnes of DWR reports:
Over the past two months, the #FeedOurCrew initiative has been able to provide shopping vouchers for over 350 families, who’s primary breadwinners are no longer able to make a living due to the closing of the events industry.
“The #FeedOurCrew fund has raised R280 000. Originally each recipient was given a voucher for R1000. Due to dwindling funds and a huge increase in applications, we are now giving recipients vouchers of R500 each. This has helped just over 350 freelance technicians that are currently completely without any form of income and do not qualify for UIF,” says Tamsyn Strydom, technical production manager at MGG.
As the crisis deepened, donations are drying up as both businesses and individuals in the sector are running out of funds themselves. To date, government relief has not addressed any of the needs of the industry, despite multiple appeals. At the initiation of the hard lockdown, The Department of Arts and Culture announced a relief fund to be distributed among affected persons in the industry, and not a single freelance technician has benefited to date.
“We have done everything that we can as an industry to support our most vulnerable colleagues,” says Tamsyn. “Unfortunately, we are only able to do so much, and an institutional response is desperately needed.”
As the majority of South Africans return to work under Level 3 lockdown regulations, the events industry remains firmly behind bars. If the pandemic follows the trajectory predicted by analysts, there are unlikely to be any events in South Africa until at least the first quarter of 2021. Unfortunately, if government and the private sector ignores the plight of the technical events industry, there will be nothing left by the time that we reach level 0 of the phased lockdown approach.
If one reflects on South Africa’s greatest moments as a free nation, images of Nelson Mandela’s iconic inauguration come to mind. As does the glorious celebration of our nation during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. We remember when artists around the world raised their voices against the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa and across the world during the 46664 concerts in 2003.
We recall with pride as people from every corner of the globe joined some of the world’s leading artists in a humanitarian call to action during the Global Citizen Festival in 2018. Not one of these moments would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of freelance technicians, production companies, lighting designers, sound engineers, riggers and stage hands - who are always the first to arrive on site and the very last to leave.
The theatre, and the technicians who make it possible to stage work, played a seminal role in our country’s journey from tyranny to freedom. Works by Athol Fugard, John Kani and others, brought our stories to audiences across the world during our darkest hours and offered opportunity for social healing in the years after apartheid. More recently, Aubrey Sekhabi’s Marikana the Musical furthered the debate about ongoing injustice in our country. As we all question our individual rights versus the State’s measures to curb a disaster, the theatre offers a platform for social healing as it has always done – unless there is nobody left to turn on the lights and lift the curtain!
South Africa is unique in our ability to rise up over adversity, to join hands in song and celebrate – no matter how desperate the situation. Our ability to sing and dance in the face of disaster is the glue that holds our nation together. We are at risk of forever removing the bonds that make that glue work, unless Government delivers on the promises it has made and corporate South Africa heeds our distress call.
We call on every person who has ever attended a concert, theatre show, political rally, religious gathering, football game, rugby match, a play, festival, or corporate event to please contribute today and make an invest in this nation’s joy tomorrow!
To donate, visit www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/feed-our-crew

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