Gigi Lamayne shares her experiences as an artist in South Africa’s hard-hit creative sector, and her thoughts on the creative sector’s road to recovery
For most young creatives using their talent and artistic ability to earn an income, the pandemic was a massive hit, with theatres, live music events, exhibitions and everything in between coming to a grinding halt once lockdown measures were first instituted in 2020.
Rapper and singer/songwriter, Gigi Lamayne, says while the pandemic has been tough, it’s forced her to explore other revenue-generating channels in order to stay engaged with her community of fans and followers.
“Live shows were our main revenue stream and those have been cut. As artists we’ve also got issues like piracy, and that’s directly affecting our pockets,” she says. “I told myself I’m not going to take this laying down. I’m going to get up and try and find out what I can do.”
Lamayne adds that she’s had to learn to “diversify”, as have many artists and emerging talents hoping to make their mark in the world, with technology and access to connectivity in particular playing important roles in allowing creatives to continue doing what they love under lockdown.
“I’ve been doing a lot of online live shows – even Facebook. I honestly believe this is the future of entertainment, tapping into to how you can create a ‘virtual you’ and make money on the internet because at least then we can reach more people, from Sweden to Istanbul!” she says.
Lamayne is currently taking part in My Community Cooks, a platform created by Vuma in partnership with the Soweto Wine & Lifestyle festival, Native Rebels and The Soweto Theatre, that aims to give talented individuals the opportunity to share their unique talents with the world. For emerging and established creatives alike, it’s also a meeting of minds and a chance to network with and support one another in one of the most trying times the world has ever seen.
“The fact is that the arts is a space to showcase your talent and to do what you love, but it’s also a great place to make money out of doing what you love, and I love the fact that the My Community Cooks platform is supporting artists in doing that,” says Lamayne.
“Africans are so talented. I see people all the time singing and dancing, doing percussion, and once data prices are dropped, I think we’ll find so many more talents being discovered online.” Indeed, as fibre technology advances, and new forms of its deployment are beginning to reach all corners of South Africa, the barriers to connectivity access are being broken down at an exponential rate.
“Africa, your time is now! Burna Boy won a Grammy – somebody else is next, and they’re in Africa.”