CityPress - - News - SIZWE SAMA YENDE sizwe.yende@city­

In Mpumalanga – where the cre­ative arts in­dus­try has not ex­actly boomed yet – lo­cal artists have to take ex­tra­or­di­nary mea­sures to make their mark in the cut-throat movie busi­ness.

How­ever, the in­dus­try has seem­ingly gained sup­port form Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, which means that cre­ative and cul­tural arts at last have the po­ten­tial to be a “crit­i­cal eco­nomic en­gine” for the prov­ince.

Mabuza has in­structed the de­part­ments of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and tourism; arts and cul­ture; and sport and re­cre­ation to investigate the prospects of es­tab­lish­ing a pro­vin­cial cre­ative in­dus­tries body to fa­cil­i­tate, pro­mote and sup­port the movie pro­duc­tion in­dus­try, among other func­tions.

Na­tion­ally, the movie in­dus­try con­trib­utes about R90.5 bil­lion or 3% to the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) and em­ploys mostly younger peo­ple un­der 34 years old. Although its im­pact in the prov­ince has never been re­searched to de­ter­mine its con­tri­bu­tion and stand­ing in the econ­omy, lo­cal ac­tors are adamant it is creat­ing jobs.

But ow­ing to a lack of fund­ing and in­sti­tu­tional sup­port, at least from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, its growth has been stunted.

The sec­tor ar­gues that in­dif­fer­ence thwarts their po­ten­tial to un­lock re­lated eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties and to in­crease the prov­ince’s GDP.

City Press vis­ited the pro­duc­tion stu­dio of a film­mak­ing com­pany in Block C vil­lage out­side Malalane in Mpumalanga, a tiny back-yard bed­room in a ru­ral vil­lage – roofed with cor­ru­gated iron sheets – that be­comes a fur­nace on a hot sunny day.

Twenty-five-year-old Nkosi­nathi Mbalati’s bed­room is the pro­duc­tion stu­dio for Nko­mazi Hus­tle Pro­duc­tions – the com­pany he founded with four of his friends in 2014. This is where two movies have

Why is there so lit­tle fund­ing from prov­inces to sup­port and pro­mote movie in­dus­tries fo­cus­ing on lo­cal con­tent and lan­guages?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word MOVIE and tell us what you think. In­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50 Mbalati said.

Mabuza said the prov­ince was ready to join hands with the pri­vate sec­tor to de­velop the in­dus­try.

“It is im­por­tant that, as gov­ern­ment, in part­ner­ship with the pri­vate sec­tor and other stake­hold­ers, we har­ness this in­dus­try,” he said.

“The in­dus­try has am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­come and em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion along the pro­duc­tion value chain, in­clud­ing ex­hi­bi­tion, mar­ket­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion and con­sump­tion,” he said.

Gov­ern­ment, said Mabuza, was also plan­ning to es­tab­lish a cul­tural hub in Mbombela as an an­chor project to lever­age in­vest­ment and sup­port for the de­vel­op­ment of the cre­ative in­dus­tries in Mpumalanga.

Let­shela Jonas, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and tourism spokesper­son, said a pro­gramme of ac­tion would be de­vel­oped at the be­gin­ning of the new fi­nan­cial year.

Mean­while, Good­e­nough Mashego – a book writer, film di­rec­tor and record la­bel owner based in Bush­buck­ridge – said po­lit­i­cal will was lack­ing to de­velop Mpumalanga’s cre­ative in­dus­try.

“All gov­ern­ment needs to do is to com­pile a data­base of cre­ative artists and come up with a strat­egy,” Mashego said.

He said artists – par­tic­u­larly mu­si­cians, film mak­ers and writ­ers – were not get­ting sup­port from lo­cal ra­dio sta­tions and film in­sti­tu­tions.

“This tells you why there’s no Swati, Pu­lana [a di­alect linked to Pedi spo­ken in Bush­buck­ridge] or Shangaan movie.

“Mu­sic pro­duced by lo­cal artists is also never played on lo­cally based ra­dio sta­tions such as Lig­walag­wala FM. Although the Mpumalanga gov­ern­ment does buy some books from lo­cal writ­ers, [the writ­ers] gain noth­ing when some­one pays mem­ber­ship to a li­brary and bor­rows it,” Mashego said.

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