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MBABANE - While social distancing and lockdowns are the right moves to protect the health of our communities, the complete picture of the financial repercussions is still unknown.

With cancelled music concerts, gigs, exhibitions, many artists are feeling the stress of lost income and an uncertain future. In the face of the unknown, artists have, unsurprisingly, gotten creative with some finding it best to stay relevant and cash in a few coins by streaming their shows. Now, the question that has been on everyone’s mind, including that of local artists has been why are people shunning away from applying for the relief fund made available by SWAMA (Eswatini Arts and Music Association)?
In a space of a month, one would think applications for this fund would have hit thousands as it has been evident that since the pandemic hit most artists have been struggling to make money to provide for themselves and their families. In light of this some artists said before the lockdown their earnings from shows would take care of both  their families’ and personal needs now they relied on the little they were able to save before the pandemic started.  

This then led to them questioning government’s justification of its events restriction which limits certain events to a maximum of 50 people. “How are you going to get paid when you have a six-member band?” This then prompted SWAMA to secure a relief fund for the arts sector, musicians, arstists and industry personnels. President of the Eswatini Arts and Music Association Lutfo Dlamini said the funding would be made available to industry personnel including musicians and artists. Dlamini said the funding would be accessible to all who would qualify as only those who can show a loss of income would be assisted monetarily.  

In the past days, event organisers voiced out their frustrations towards government as they were not informed nor consulted when government decided to move the country to lockdown level two once more amid the third wave. “We are pleased to announce that government has heard our plight and funding will be made available, similar to the support advanced to other equally affected small businesses in the past. The funding will be accessible to musicians, artists and industry personnel who are  affliated with an association for the year 2021,” said Dlamini. Furthermore, members  have been requested to e-mail to the association’s Public Relations Officer at pro@swama.org.sz in order to get an application form and return same form via the same e-mail and to date only 11 applications have been received by the organisation. When this publication asked how much government would pump in towards the relif fund, Dlamini said, “We are still yet to establish how many artists were affected first before we announce the figures ” Said Dlamini.


SWAMA PRO Zoe Genesis mentioned that the required documents entail national identification number, full names, stage name, any other source of income, association affilated with, a justification of how COVID-19 affected your business, residential address, contact number and an e-mail address.


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