Protesting Abahlali artists target Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in Pretoria over Covid-19 funding related issues

By Edward Tsumele

The group of artists that occupied the national Arts Council for two months only to leave recently on April 30, 2021, are today heading to the offices of the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture in Pretoria.

The protesting artists who now go by the name of Abahali, a name they gave themselves while they staged a sit in at the NAC offices  are taking their protest to the door of Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthehtwa and his officials in Pretoria.

It was however unclear by last night whether they will meet the minister during their visit and whether they are contemplating a sit in just like the one that took place for two months at the NAC offices. But indications are that If they do not get satisfaction from a list of questions they would want to see answered, there is a chance the Abahlali mght stage a sit in similar to the one at the NAC offices, but the visit to the government department in charge of sports and arts has been confirmed to be going ahead this morning, Monday 17, May, 2021.

“ABAHLALI BASE NAC led by Sibongile Mngoma visits DSAC on Monday, 17 May 2021 as we promised after our 60 Days sit in at the National Arts Council of South Africa (NAC) offices. Our first visit was NAC. The next visit is DSAC….

We would always come out publicly and declare where we will be visiting

We are clear. Who is Joining us on Monday in Pretoria,” wrote Thami Aka Mbongo, one of the leaders of the protesting artists.

The sit in at the NAC offices was as a result of artists’ dissatisfaction with the manner the arts agency handled the disbursement of the Presidential Stimulus Package (PESP)  aimed at assists artists and arts organization to stand on their feet again after their sector was left battered by the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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