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Monday, October 5, 2015


More than 700 individual artists and nearly 150 arts and culture organisations have endorsed the Unite Against Corruption Campaign.

Among those who support the Campaign are high profile writers, actors, musicians and visual artists including Zakes Mda, Mark Gevisser, Gcina Mhlope, Pieter Dirk Uys, Karen Zoid, Jay Pather, David Kramer, Beezy Bailey, Thoko Ntshinga, Mbulelo Grootboom and Shaleen Surtie Richards along with internationally acclaimed organisations such as the Handspring Puppet Theatre Company, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre and Vuyani Dance Theatre.

Three ad hoc Artists United Against Corruption committees exist in Johannesburg (co-ordinated by Gita Pather), Durban (co-ordinated by Nadia Meer) and Cape Town (co-ordinated by Mike van Graan) to help mobilise artists’ involvement in the Campaign, both in the actual marches, and in contributing creatively and/or financially to the Campaign.

Unite Against Corruption was initiated by various civil society organisations such as Section 27, Treatment Action Campaign and Equal Education as well as trade unions to focus attention on rampant corruption within the public and private sectors, as well as within other social institutions, including religious organisations, NGOs and sports federations.

The focus includes items such as a call for greater transparency of funding for political parties, better protection of the office of the Public Protector and lifestyle audits of senior government officials.

The arts and culture sector has rapidly supported this Campaign since artists are affected by corruption as much as others, both as citizens and as artists e.g. musicians being asked for payola in exchange for their music being broadcast on radio.

“Stakeholders within the arts and culture sector often do not raise issues of corruption for fear of alienating those who control public purse strings, access to opportunities and private sector sponsorships,” said poet and playwright Maishe Maponya, one of the first artist signatories.

Nadia Meer, Durban co-ordinator of Artists United Against Corruption explained that a key motivation for artists to be engaged in this Campaign “is to lobby for a mechanism to which issues of corruption, exploitation and abuse of artists may be reported anonymously for investigation and action”.

Artists participated in the Unite Against Corruption picket outside Parliament in August at the time of the debate on the Nhleko Report on Nkandla, and have created posters highlighting the lack of transparency in party political funding. A packed forum attended mainly by students was held at the Durban University of Technology in September, launching the campaign in Durban.

“Another of our aims is to encourage artists to link up with other sectors of society in addressing issues of concern to many South Africans and to employ our creativity in doing so” said Gita Pather, the Gauteng facilitator of Artists United Against Corruption. “We look forward to the Campaign contributing to greater organization of and social engagement within the arts and culture sector.”

For more details about the Campaign, go to, or email, or follow it on Twiiter @UAC_Now or Facebook

To follow and engage with the arts and culture component of the Campaign, visit the soon-to-be-launched Facebook page: