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We want E1M, says SWAMA

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MBABANE – As everyone awaits the delivery of the budget speech tomorrow, the Swaziland Artists and Music Association (SWAMA) said it needed E1million subvention from the national cake.

The association’s President, Mshikishi Mndzebele, in an interview, said the E70 000 annual subvention they had been getting from government, through the Swaziland National Council of Arts and Culture (SNCAC) in the last few years, had been too meagre for them to do any meaningful project. He observed that this was why Swazi artists were not going anywhere in terms of development.

"We need money to help our artists record their music professionally. The E1 million can also cater for expenses, such as transport, personal costs for artists, training, marketing and other things. All this could not be covered by the subventions we had been getting," explained Mndzebele.

Majority

He disclosed that a majority of artists in the country had no formal employment, and so could not pay some of the expenses they incur from their own pockets.

He said it was a fact that many artists relied on their talents for their livelihood, therefore art had to be taken seriously by government.

"I do not have a formal job, but with enough support from government and authorities I have a potential to create job opportunities in my trade as a musician.

Boost

"Artists can really boost the economy. Music is big business if given the attention it deserves, and it can create a lot of jobs for many people," the president said.

He added that he prayed that the SNCAC would tomorrow receive a better allocation because it would mean an improved subvention for SWAMA this year.

SNCAC Chief Executive Officer Vusi Nkambule recently revealed that they needed E18 million from government if some meaningful development in the arts industry was to be seen. Last year they were given only E3 million.

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