The local entertainment industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak just like other sectors as more and more events are being postponed or cancelled.
With performers and artists only generate revenue through events, the issue is hitting them hard where it hurts most – in the pockets.
South African Music Industry Council representative China Mpololo said the cancellation of events was going to impact the showbizz industry badly, not only the performers but the multitudes of people the sector employs.
Mpololo said: “This is affecting the entire industry and not just artists’ income. When we can’t host events, the entire chain of services suffers. I am talking about sound engineers, security, catering, lights and many more.”
“As the music organisations we have welcomed the statement issued by government. We are not complaining because the issue is bigger than all of us. We have to allow precautionary measures to be implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19 in line with communication from the South African government. We would like to encourage all music practitioners and music lovers to comply with measures put in place.”
Events that were postponed include Bebe Winans’s Tour which was scheduled for March 20 at the Ticket Pro Dome in Northgate. The organisers have explained that new dates for Winan’s tour will be communicated.
Another event that has been postponed is the Mpumalanga Pre-Easter Prayer & Gospel Music Festival which was scheduled for April 4 at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga.
Gospel singer Sipho Makhabane, who is part of the organising team, said: “After the announcement made by the President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday we set down with sponsors and felt it was appropriate for us to postponed the event to protect our people. We have postponed the event to May but we will communicate the date.”
Other postponed events: F1 Joburg Festival which was due to take place on March 29; South Afric Gospel Music Awards (April 5 in Newtown); South African Afro Music Awards (April 3).
Legendary American R&B group Boyz II Men and the Scorpion Kings concert which was scheduled for April 9 at Sun Arena, Pretoria, has officially been postponed.
Meanwhile, University of Johannesburg arts and culture division has postponed all events scheduled to take place at its venues from March 16 until further notice.
Pieter Jacobs, head of arts and culture department head at UJ, said: “The health and wellbeing of our students, patrons and clients are of the utmost importance. During this time of uncertainty, we at UJ Arts & Culture encourage our stakeholders and all South Africans to stay positive. Let’s collaborate to keep ourselves healthy and, should we have any exposure to the COVID-19 virus to avoid transmitting it to others. UJ Arts & Culture will monitor the situation and take a decision regarding events scheduled to take place after April 2020.”
Some of the events that the institution had to defer include Hannah Ma International Dance Residency, the ONDA/Wave performance, UJ Weekend of Stand-up, Comedy Con 2020, Diane Victor solo exhibition Folly, Frailty and Fear and A Grand Night for Singing.
Churches have also taken the initiative to cancel services in trying to control the spread of Corona. Hillsong Church South Africa has temporarily suspended services starting from March 22.
Rhema Bible Church has followed suit, suspending its Sunday gatherings as the health of its congregation was important.