Amakhosi Cultural Centre director Cont Mhlanga has lambasted corporate sponsors who had promised to lend a helping hand towards the smooth running of the annual Intwasa Arts Festival for their failure to “meet their side of the bargain”.
In a statement released last week, Mhlanga took a swipe at the sponsors that advertised their support for the arts showcase, but “did not give a dime to the festival”.
Said Mhlanga: “Our concern is the fact that the non-existent over-hyped sponsorship partnership with Intwasa then creates a bad attitude within our local artists as they create falsehoods that the Intwasa secretariat got a lot of money and refused to perform at the festival on the grounds the performing fees were too little.”
He said some artists refused to perform for $100 as they believed the event was “well sponsored” and therefore they could not be offered “peanuts”.
“To them (artists) Intwasa is well-funded by the sponsors as confirmed by their logos on all Intwasa publicity materials. This partnership is sending wrong signals to artists and that in turn breeds some negative attitudes,” said the outspoken arts director.
Mhlanga revealed that Afro-jazz musician, Majahawodwa “Jeys Marabini” Ndlovu used to perform for free in previous editions, but stepped down this year following “complaints by some artists that the festival always features the same ‘high-profile’ artists each year and keeps giving them a lot of money derived from the sponsors”.
He said he had sadly discovered the festival did not even have a vehicle for its director Raisedon Baya, so he could coordinate all activities smoothly.
“While walking down the street with Daves Guzha we met the festival director running across town on foot as he had to monitor all the seven festival venues. How sad!”
He said sponsors were taking advantage of the festival by “doing their own parallel thing” during the event.
Mhlanga said there was need for seriousness on
the part of those who would like to sponsor the arts.