Blank Tape levy must be reformed

SHARE   |   Sunday, 22 February 2015   |   By Seabelo Modibe
Blank Tape levy must be reformed


The blank tape levy which is supposed to benefit artists is not benefiting artists fully and as artists we must never accept a notion that half a loaf of bread is better than none. We must always demand a full loaf. Millions are sitting undistributed while the board is not meeting regularly. What’s going on here? I was shocked to the see a Youth Health Promotion organization being funded while BOMU’s proposal was rejected. For me it’s a case of wrong people in the board. The appointing officer must find the right people rather than recycle same faces. Some people have been in that board for more than 5 years, what value are they adding? Don’t they get tired? Batswana are tlogeleng go rata maemo. I am not saying B.O.M.U. should be given prefential treatment. My take is that the Registrar of Companies and the Levy board have lost the plot! When there is a huge fund like this there must be clear terms of who is who? What is happening there is daylight robbery of the Arts. We can’t afford to sit thinking there are people who have our interests at heart while these people are not. What legacy is this current levy board setting? 
I have a huge problem that the levy board has people who have nothing to do with the Arts, some from exporters organizations, some from accounting firms. The question is what the heck do these people want there? What’s their interest in issues of the arts? I can’t imagine Shumba Ratshega appointed into the BICA board because he does not qualify. Yes we need professionals but we also have to make sure these professionals and artists are not conflicted and recycled from other boards. There are lawyers and accountants who are artists. Lets choose from those not people who can’t play a music instrument let alone blow a flute. People not associated with the arts must stop clouding us and keep their space. This notion that musicians and artists cannot run their affairs is caused by officers who want to tell artists how to run their affairs? From 2015 onwards artists must map their destiny, they must participate and attend meetings of every organ that is supposed to be to their benefit, otherwise they will continue to be taken as fools who can’t manage their businesses and careers.
Moving forward there is a serious need for the blank Tape Levy to adopt the EU Small Grants model. Where they train artists on proposal writing and categorize grants, there should be small grants and big grants, as well as categorization of needs that the levy will fund in the next five years. Currently the Levy Board meets once every 6 months or after I write a letter like this in the newspaper to counter my views. This is wrong! The Levy must also have an education endowment program where they can offer bursaries abroad and locally to youth who want to pursue music or the arts fulltime.
I will like to congratulate those five  projects that I hear in the streets have been funded although some are not deserving as their organizations have nothing to do with the arts. The blank tape levy must never be used by NGOs to boost their cashflow but rather to improve the state of the arts. Only people who are Arts practitioners should benefit from this Levy as per the Act! Batswana ako re direng dilo sentle gangwe hela mo botshelong! People who are not artists must voluntarily resign in that board and go and focus in their profession. We are tired of people meddling in issues of the arts.
Yours In Music

Seabelo Modibe



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