What to do to get paid for your craft: Artists speak

Artists speak on what it takes to make money from their crafts.

By Siphesihle Dlamini

One of the biggest challenges faced by local artists is the issue of making money out of their craft. Most artists are getting paid little to nothing for performing their talents. Eswatini Financial Times had an interview with some local artists discussing what artists can do to rectify this problem.

Renowned Comedian Gogo Eswatini said what would help artists is to have artist managers.

“This will assist us not to find ourselves negotiating with event organizers. It’s actually hard as an artist to know your value and charge properly, particularly if the client is someone you know. They usually negotiate down to the last cent. Also, artists should have a public relations (PR) team that will help artists with PR-related scenarios. For payments between the artists and artist managers, I think there need for an agreement. I think they should pay each other in percentage cuts per gig than monthly payments. Not all months are the same in the arts industry, especially in Eswatini,” he said.

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Fine Artist Mzwandile Moletsane said artists need to have fair charges based on their experience, skills, also their career path in the industry.

“Also, I think having the right niche is key. As a creator do not make your content for everyone. Just target a group that has the potential to pay. Furthermore, a marketing team would help make sure the artist is well-marketed. Moreover, it helps to have your official quotation known publicly,” he noted.

Multi-award-winning poet Christian Maz said making money within the industry is possible but artists need to work wisely.

“I think monetising our hustle would work. Creating content that would attract investors and cooperate companies. It would be ideal for us as artists to have a standard fee for performances- for example, no poet should be paid less than E2 500 for a performance. This would help because event organisers won’t have alternatives. It becomes a problem when an event organisers come to me, I charge him E3500 and then he gets another poet who will charge his E500,” he said.

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Asked for his opinion on the matter, Anthonimass, a poet said there are many things artists can do to make sure that they are getting paid for performances. He said they should set their charges clearly and stick to them.

“They should not compromise regardless of their relationship with the host. Also knowing your worth as an artist helps you to charge fairly for your services. Moreover, having a manager as an artist can help. Managers make sure that the artist gets paid. It’s hard to manipulate a manager than it is to exploit an artist,” he said.

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