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South African industry stands united behind #Flightcasemovement

South African industry stands united behind #Flightcasemovement

South African industry stands united behind #Flightcasemovement

South Africa:

The #Flightcasemovement gathered at South Africa’s Paul Kruger Statue in Central Pretoria on 8 September to hand over a memorandum of demands to the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC). Members of the country’s live event industry, comprising business owners, technicians and freelancers, all stood united, marching and pushing flightcases to represent their cause. Those who could not afford the transportation costs to be there, having not worked since the lockdown was imposed on 15 March, attended in spirit.

“I felt like I was part of a huge national movement that will never be seen for another 100 years, I was proud to be part of this committee,” commented Sizwe Mokoena of Ugozi Entertainment, a member of the #Flightcasemovement, who led the protestors in peaceful songs like Asisanamali, the desperate cry to be able to work and generate an income again.

South Africa’s lockdown has been one of the strictest worldwide, with virtually no provisions made for the technical events sector. Under the gatherings act, events cannot cater to an audience of more than 50 people and the sad reality is that the industry is now struggling, its people are battling to survive, and many have moved back with their parents, sold their cars, homes and other possessions.

“Companies are retrenching devoted staff who have dedicated their life and soul to the industry they hold so dear and deep within their hearts,” stated Lefa Tsiane from the movement. “Companies are closing doors as bills are piling up and assets are now being repossessed due to the government’s strict regulations under the Disaster Act.”

Kagiso Moima Wa Masimini, owner of rental company Blackmotion and founder and spokesperson for #Flightcasemovement addressed the crowd in Pretoria. “For years, we have invested in our crew and in equipment,” he said. “Now even the banks are telling us that we are high risk. We can’t continue like this any longer. Enough is enough. Our industry is always behind the scenes but today we want to be in front of our government and say that we matter too.”

While the media has covered various violent protests held in South Africa during this time, #Flightcasemovement saw friends in the industry gather together peacefully and take part in an organised movement.

“I had to laugh,” added Tamsyn Strydom of MGG and an organiser for both #fligthcasemovement and #Feedourcrew. “We were probably the only protestors to carry out two site visits before our protest, supply our own marshals (thanks Bra Eddie Sithole), supply water to the participants, register and hand sanitise each participant, and have the representative of the DSAC sing along while signing the memorandum. Metro Traffic even assisted us when we had to reload the trucks. I felt proud to be part of such an incredible industry that holds themselves high in their work ethic and perseverance. What broke my heart was seeing many of my colleagues for the first time in six months, some who have become close friends. My hope is that the government hears our desperate pleas and responds to them in a way that will allow us to survive until our industry regains in momentum.”

The memorandum was received by a representative at DSAC, who has promised to address the issues with urgency and in less than a week. The demands include the reopening of the live events industry at a 70% capacity; specific relief fund for businesses in the live events and technical production sector to the sum of R2 Billion; extended relief from financial institutions; relaxation of relief fund application requirements for freelancers; recognition of the live events and technical production sector and a seat at the table and a strategic; deliberate and sustainable plan on how to support the sector.

“Congratulations on a very successful march,” concluded DWR’s Duncan Riley. “I felt like I was a part of history in the making and it really touched me. I am still emotional about the movement and its vision and would like to commend everyone involved. In the words of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: We can change the world and make it a better place; it is in your hands to make a difference.”

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