Bail out artistes: Sirschaba

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Nthatuoa Koeshe

YME Tunes chief executive officer Sirschaba says the government must consider bailing out the entertainment industry as it is one of the worst affected sectors of the economy by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Born Sechaba Mokoqo, Sirschaba said this in an interview with the Weekender this week.

His sentiments come on the back of the “I lost a gig Lesotho campaign”, a social media programme to conscientise the public of the losses that the arts sector has incurred due to the ongoing Coronavirus induced lockdown.

Lesotho went into a lockdown last month as the government moved to curb the spread of the virus. The lockdown entailed the postponement of several arts events including musical gigs inline with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations for social distancing.

Although Lesotho is yet to record any cases, the virus has killed almost 30 people in neighbouring South Africa and infected close to 2 500 people. Globally, infections have surpassed the 2 million mark while deaths are nearing 130 000.

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YME Tunes launched the “I lost a gig Lesotho campaign” on 9 April to raise awareness on the plight of the artistes.

Sirschaba said the initiative is meant to sensitise the public and the government of the harsh effects of the pandemic on the arts sector since they no longer have any income after the cancellation of their gigs and restriction of movements.

“We have artistes who perform at the main bus stop in Maseru to promote their music but they cannot do that now because of the Coronavirus pandemic,” Sirschaba said.

He said some promoters had already invested in shows that have now been postponed or cancelled.

Therefore, the government, in the event that it comes up with a bail out for other sectors, must also consider the sector.

The artistes have also implored the public to desist from posting their music online without their consent.

“We have posted a poster on social media for people to support us by using it as their profile picture in support of the initiative. When we posted the poster, over 100 people have shared our message and we estimate that about 100 000 people have seen the message… We hope it will have an impact,” Sirschaba said.

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