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Musicians: New SABC local music quota hits the right note

Award-winning singer and song writer Lira says the announcement marks an incredible time for SA music.

Singer and songwriter Lira. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Local musicians have called on the country to embrace and support the SABC's new music quota, saying it will put the South African brand on the international scene as a major contender.

Musicians contacted by Eyewitness News say the decision to prioritise local music on all SABC radio stations will not only give local artists more exposure and royalties, but could also promote local entrepreneurs and record labels.

Award-winning singer and song writer Lira says the announcement marks an incredible time for South African music.

Singer Juliet Harding of the band Goodluck says, "We need to stop thinking that because it's local it's inferior. People get so excited when an American artist or UK artist comes to South Africa and support them. We honestly need to look at ourselves and go 'wow we make the best music'. I call it national pride."

Hip-hop singer Kwesta says the decision will bring an end to the South Africa music industry's apartheid and that musicians now stand a fighting chance.

Record label owner and hip-hip artist Lebo "Sugasmakx" Mothibe says this country needs to celebrate its talent the way other countries do.

"Artists like Adele or The Beatles could come out of that environment because they were celebrated in their environment fully, that they could actually make it across their borders. And now they, within their border, make a lot of money."

Mothibe says the decision will ultimately create jobs and promote investment.

"The more music that is played of local content is that more people will want to buy that music, meaning that jobs locally are sustained, more royalties are going to remain within the South African borders instead of going offshore. Jobs are going to be created."

Songwriter and singer Chad Saaiman says music managers will have to pay more attention to local musicians now.

"That's a really great opportunity from a radio perspective if more music that I'm writing for other acts has a chance of being on radio, which then leads to more royalties and more opportunities in terms of exposure on air."

Hip-hop artist, Siyabonga "Slikour" Matema, says although he is elated by the SABC's move, it also comes with major responsibility.

"It comes with responsibility for the people that represent the stations. They need to start having people who're really passionate about the music, who really have an ear for something that has potential."

LOCAL IS LEKKER

The SABC says it took the decision after extensive consultation with music industry representatives.

Spokesperson Kaiser Kganyago says, "We believe that the SABC is the c ustodian of our culture and heritage and we need to do that."

Kganyago said this will be taking place for the next three months while the SABC assesses the reception by the public and how it's going to move forward in terms of the final percentage.

Jazz musician Don Laka, who has campaigned for the decision, says this will change the landscape of the arts in South Africa.

"It is the duty of Icasa, but what has happened today shows leadership that understands."

The African National Congress (ANC) has welcomed the quota.

Acting spokesperson Khusela Sangoni said, "The decision that 90 percent of the music played on SABC radio stations will be local music will go a long way to empowering South African artists and promoting African culture, locally, and throughout the world."