The Sh100 million President Kenyatta pledged to artistes as part of the stimulus package to support various groups in response to the adverse consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has finally been released. This is good news, indeed, for those who entertain fellow Kenyans to ease some of the gloom wrought by the spread of the deadly virus.
This just happens to be one of the segments of youth who have been savaged by the pandemic. With the strict safety guidelines that include a ban on public gatherings, they can no longer stage concerts. They must find other avenues through which to continue to express themselves and showcase their creativity as they also earn some money to put food on the table for their families.
One of the criticisms when the President announced this allocation to the actors was that it would be a waste of money. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Artistes have a vital role to play in any society by informing, educating and inspiring the people to tackle their challenges. Art is not a waste of time, as it is an avenue through which the popular culture is sustained and enriched.
The presidential stimulus for Covid-19, dubbed Work for Pay, has been paid out after the artistes submitted their work. It is encouraging to note that the Kenya Cultural Centre has already paid 64 artistes from Nairobi, Rift Valley, western and central Kenya regions. The Sh10,000 paid to each artiste may not be much, but it is a good starting point.
It’s also laudable that the Ministry of Culture bypassed content management organisations that have in the past swindled artistes. The beneficiaries should use this as seed money to generate more instead of splashing it on fun.