This is a devastating time for artists and for the industry that sustains them. The “gig economy” is a catch-all phrase, but most performing artists have always lived more or less gig to gig. Closing theatres and concert venues is a necessary coronavirus public health measure but it means that many artists, their income already precarious, are now facing a precipice.

It remains to be seen whether the SA state will find methods to sustain artists during this period. Other countries have announced government support, but implementation seems impossibly complicated: who gets money, how and how much? Our department of arts & culture has shown itself inept in so many ways over the years that artists, organisations and institutions will not expect rescue from that quarter.

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