Artistes across the creative value chain have lost at least Shs 150 billion in income in the last two months of the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The loss covers those in creation, production, distribution and marketing. According to the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the cancellation of music, art, drama and cultural events has considerably weakened the professional, social and economic status of artistes, performers, creatives and cultural professionals. The ministry puts the number of those affected to 700 after the cancellation of over 300 cultural events.
Speaking on May 21 at the Uganda Media Centre to mark the World Culture day, Peace Mutuuzo, the minister of state for Gender and Culture, said they are trying to come up initiatives that will not only cushion the artistes from the effects of Covid-19, but also have a sustainable income benefiting from their art.
She added that this will be accompanied by training in security protocols in the digital environment so that the artistes benefit financially from their works.
World Culture day is celebrated every May 21 to deepen public understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to “live together” better.
According to Mutuuzo, in the coming days, the Private Sector Foundation and her ministry will enter into a memorandum of understanding to support the formalisation of culture and creative businesses into small-scale enterprises, to claim their rightful place in the economy. She is optimistic that this will hugely contribute to solving the unemployment of youth and women in Uganda.
“The emergence of technology and digitalisation provides a window for ensuring that content attracts due loyalties. I, therefore, make a passionate call for all Ugandan cultural products and marketing to go online. We should see culture as part of the exit strategy from the current crisis, and creators have an important role to play in shaping that strategy,” Mutuuzo said.