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“Artists are surviving lockdown and living to tell the tale.”

COVID-19 has rapidly changed the way that everyone — including artists and creative freelancers — conduct business. Cancelled shows and gigs, institutions that have gone under, isolation and mental health issues have all taken their toll.

An August 2020 study in the US showed that unemployment is particularly high for performing artists in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic.

“The vast majority of artists have likely lost some or all of their income, not to mention losing the institutions on which they depend to earn their living. And there is no clear path back to pre-pandemic levels of employment, ” said the RAND survey.

This is why next Thursday’s Cornerstone Critical Dialogues, which is brought to you by the Nu Era Group, will explore how artists have been navigating the outbreak and how they are planning to alter the way they approach their art businesses.

Guests lined up for the show include well-known Cape Town poet Gail van Breda, dynamic singer-songwriter Maya Spector, political journalist and Cornerstone Institute board member Mansoor Jaffer, and Colin Daries,  Owner and Chief Executive Officer, Nu-Era Group.

Join us on Bush Radio 89.5FM at 7 PM next Thursday for this deep dive into a critical area of South African life that deserves our attention and support now more than ever.

Gail Van Breda

Gail Van Breda is a writer, poet, cultural curator and self-published author from Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town, South Africa.

Gail is the Founder and host of Etymotic Poetry and Etymotic Arts — a LIVE PERFORMANCE platform launched in 2016 for emergent artists to express themselves without judgement, generate income, and contribute to the hospitality industry where these events were held. This project took place across the Cape Flats, i.e., Ottery, Wetton, Claremont, and Rondebosch.

Her purpose and passion for the Arts remain to create and facilitate the creation of original conscious content that narrates day-to-day life experiences, create spaces for expression, and create spaces as an outlet for our daily toils towards healing societal and individual brokenness.

Some of Gail’s live performances since 2015 include The Rainbow of Hope Children’s Home Festival, Real Art Wednesday (RAW), Grounding Sessions, South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) Women’s Day events, Staff Excellence Award Ceremonies, Memorial Services in honour of Nelson Mandela, The Baxter Theatre Zabalaza Festival and The Daily Music Show hosted at the CTICC to name a few.

Her corporate experience span across the public and private sector as an Information Technology Sen and Project Manager. Gail completed her BSC Occupational Therapy Hons degree at the University of the Western Cape, acquired her Management Development Diploma through UNISA and is a certified Prince2TM practitioner.

From time to time, she has offered creative writing workshops and participated as a panellist to unpack topical issues in the Arts space. In 2020 She contributed to the development of the Arts Management Course at Cornerstone Institute.

Mansoor Jaffer

Mansoor Jaffer is a Cornerstone Institute board member. He started his career as a court reporter at the Cape Argus in 1980. The deep injustices of apartheid drew him into political activism and journalism.

In 1983, he took up employment with Grassroots, an anti-apartheid newspaper. During his five years at the paper, he helped to establish an Afrikaans paper based on the Grassroots model in Oudtshoorn.

In 1989, he joined a trade union as its media officer and thereafter became the sports editor of the South weekly newspaper. He worked for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a media officer before he was appointed deputy editor of Cape Community Newspapers in 1997. He took up a position as Director of Communications in the Western Cape provincial government from 2006 and became an independent communication consultant from 2009, working on various media and research projects. He was the media and parliamentary liaison officer for the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs from 2017 to 2019.

Colin Daries

Colin Daries is a patron of the arts and the Nu-Era Group’s owner and CEO. The Nu-Era group is a leading company with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, specialising in Personal & Commercial short-term insurance & Funeral Insurance.

Colin is a member of FAIS Advisory Council, the chairperson of the Western Cape Business Opportunity Forum (WECBOF), the Cape Music Institute chairperson, and the Jonathan Butler Foundation chairperson.

Colin is also the chairperson and founder of Arts Capital, a non-profit membership organisation established in 2016 to respond to the needs of artists. Arts Capital consists of a motivated and experienced team that has challenged itself to create an alternative economy for the art sector.

Colin is an avid jazz enthusiast, guitarist and businessman who cares about Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Social Action, Economic Empowerment, Education, Human Rights, Politics, Poverty Alleviation, and Social Services.

Maya Spector

Maya Spector is a musical theatre specialist, singer and songwriter. Maya Spector’s artistic roots are derived from the beautiful worlds of Jazz and Soul music.

A global citizen by heart, Maya is well-versed in the distinctive cultural attributes of communities and audiences in Asia, the United States of America, South Africa and Africa. To this day, Maya’s parents remain both active and revered contributors to the political and cultural landscape of the globe.

Maya’s career spans from solo performances at the esteemed Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. alongside the highly-respected television industry veteran and puppeteer, Jim Henson (The Muppets) and renowned actress and singer, Phylicia Rashad.

A graduate of the ‘University of KwaZulu-Natal’, Maya has left an indelible mark in the worlds of musical theatre through powerful performances in multiple roles in classic musicals (Langarm, Rent!, The ‘Silence of the Music’, ‘The Man of La Mancha’, ‘Jimbo, My Fair Lady’) written, directed and produced by the inimitable, David Kramer.

Maya’s highly-anticipated debut album entitled ‘Honey & Heartache’  was released in 2020 and can be found on all digital platforms.

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