In last week’s column I joined a chorus of voices criticising minister of sport, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa. The minister has been doing a shoddy job for years, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was a tweet in which he claimed that theatre in SA is “alive and well”, listing a handful of government-subsidised theatres as evidence.

One of the sad ironies of the backlash against Mthethwa’s tweet (for which his ministry subsequently apologised) is that, precisely because so few artists and institutions receive state support, citing some that do merely fans angry flames in their direction. But the fact is that publicly-funded performing arts venues and organisations have an important role to play when dire circumstances such as those wrought by Covid-19 are decimating the sector...

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