Address by Minister Nathi Mthethwa on the occasion of the launch of a Pilot Artists Wellness Intervention Programme, Mpumalanga Province

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29 Apr 2021

Programme Director:
Hon. Thandi Shongwe: MEC of Sport, Recreation and Culture
Creative workers of our country.
Facilitators.
Distinguished guests
Members of the Media
Fellow South Africans

This year marks the 150 years of the birth of two great South Africans, zealots of our freedom, Mama Charlotte Manye-Maxeke and John Langalibalele “Mafukuzela” Dube, the founding President General of the African National Congress.

We should celebrate the lives and contributions of these African patriots who dedicated their lives in the struggle for peace and social progress. They were creative workers in their own right.

Mama Maxeke, it was her creative work that took her global stage and exposed her to endless possibilities if you honed your craft and get education.

She gave hope to the dejected and her life was an inspiration to all. She was a wife, mother, educationist, religious leader, social welfare worker, political activist and benefactor of humanity.

The concerns and issues we are seized with today, the wellbeing of the creative worker, were matters that Mama Maxeke was very concern about although for a broader society. She lived well ahead of her time.

Over the last few years we have been concern about the wellbeing of the creative workers of our country. These are people who are suppose to take the nation out of depressing environment and give us hope. And yet we have not asked ourselves a question, as to who takes care of them when they individually fell in that situation. This is the first step towards addressing this challenge.

This is the area in which intervention was amplified by the shared experiences of creative workers who are noted to be going through psycho-social challenges.

With many creative workers having no access to employee benefits, this has exacerbated the incidents of deteriorating mental wellness for most - these include the likes of depression and in extreme suicidal cases.

The fact is most of them are faced with daily challenge's and psychological difficulties. Creative workers struggles and pain are treated as entertainment to the public by the mainstream media.

Their struggles are big business for tabloid media, and that leads to many artists being publicly embarrassed and humiliated. Many behind the scenes producers and stage technicians always just disappear without anyone knowing what happened to them.

The department was compelled by the circumstances and painful incidents that involved creative workers to address these concerns by developing and identifying programmatic interventions which can redress these sector challenges.

The SILAPHA Programme: which was propelled into existence after these painful observations of practitioners who were lost to the industry, having resorted to taking the own lives as a result of issues such as depression and financial difficulties, as industry and life pressures mounted.

The programme is described as a platform intending to provide access to resources within the value chain services of lifestyle management, mental health management, substance abuse management, financial management as well as legal management.

The programme has as its vision to create an enabling platform for South African Cultural and Creative Industry Practitioners’ state of wellness to be sustainable and successful.

Emphasizing access of tools to practitioners’ lifestyle management and the successful business aspect of the craft is at the heart of this campaign.

OBJECTIVES OF THE SILAPHA PROGRAMME
The 4-pronged objectives to be delivered through this programme include:

I. To PROVIDE: a comprehensive wellness intervention programme for the South African Cultural and Creative Industry Practitioners.

II. To ACTIVATE: a platform for artists to access help in dealing with wellness management matters namely lifestyle, substance abuse, mental health, financial and legal management.

III. To EDUCATE: those with the desire to enter into the industry about how to deal with and overcome the challenges of being in the creative industry.

IV. To EMPOWER: practitioners with information on how to own their craft through and through

Thank you for your attention.